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Posts Tagged ‘Anglican church’

It is amazing what interesting experiences can surface in our memories, isn’t it? Recently, our children who had gathered at our place for a family birthday party regaled my husband and me with stories of the things we used to let them do—or refuse to—when they were children. Some we could not remember at all—surely they must have made them up? Yet they vowed they were true!

Recently, however, I experienced my own set of much more precious memories from years ago, while wending my way through Psalms again. There I was, happily reading along, when the following words transported me to another time and place in an instant:

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song. Psalm 95:1-2

Even though these words are from a more modern Bible translation than what was used when I was young, in my mind, I heard them exactly as they had sounded in some of the Sunday morning services at the Anglican church I attended then. I could even hear the minister’s voice and the sound of the pipe organ. And, for a moment, I was back in that old church, with its gleaming brass cross and candlesticks on the altar and its colourful, stained-glass windows, as we sang together:

O come, let us sing unto the Lord, let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation.

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving: and shew ourselves glad in him with psalms. (KJV)

After emerging from this memory, I read on, only to stop again at the next psalm:

Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name…
Psalm 96:7-8

In this instance, a much later memory from the nineties surfaced of a worship song written by one of our gifted musicians at the church we attended at that time. I remembered how this man would often look over his spectacles at me as I led worship, smiling and encouraging me, while he played the piano. What rich times we all had back then, as we praised God from our hearts!

After a while, I read on through the next few psalms, where so many snippets of sentences took me back even earlier than the nineties to the old Scripture choruses we used to sing with such joy and fervour in the eighties. Again, these were wonderful times of learning and growing in God.

I am so grateful for all these sung words of Scripture that have stayed in my mind, ready to be unearthed, as some small prompt stirs them to life. Music is powerful, in and of itself. But, once combined with the power and authority of Scripture, such songs of praise can pierce our hearts and lift our spirits in an amazing way.

So … let’s keep on singing God’s Word, day after day, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength!

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Psalm 100:1-2

Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Psalm 105:2

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Jo 17I have always loved Easter. As a child, of course it meant Easter eggs, which, for some reason in our household, were brought by the ‘Easter bird’ and put in our upturned hats on our beds on Easter Sunday morning! But in our family, Good Friday was always a very quiet, solemn day. Occasionally, we would attend the three-hour service at our local Anglican church where we would sing and pray and listen to Scripture readings, as we stood in front of various pictures on the walls depicting Jesus’ journey to the cross.

And that Good Friday solemnity stays with me to this day. Each Easter, I like to make my own solemn journey through one of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ last days. I like to read these chapters slowly and carefully, identifying with Jesus as best I can and trying to comprehend the enormity of his sacrifice for us all. But this Easter, I also decided to read 1 John again and was soon pulled up short by the following words:

Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6

Whoa! Walk as Jesus did? What a challenge! And what should that look like for me right now, in the midst of our coronavirus measures? Immediately, my thoughts went to some of the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion that I had been reading about in Luke’s Gospel. How did Jesus walk through each day then, in the light of his impending death?

I remembered how Jesus told his disciples he had ‘eagerly desired’ to eat the Passover meal with them (Luke 22:15) and how he gave them such a powerful way of remembering him that still ministers to us today, as he shared the bread and wine with them. I remembered too how Jesus reached out and healed the high priest’s servant whose ear was cut off in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:51). And I also recalled how, even as the soldiers put Jesus on that cross, he asked his Father to forgive them because they were acting in ignorance (Luke 23:34). Then, out of perfect love for us and perfect obedience, he gave his life for us all.

What sobering reminders of how selflessly Jesus lived! But how should it all play out in my life now in this time of semi-isolation at home?

  • I can pray for God to intervene and have mercy on our desperate world. And I can pray especially for those who do not know God’s love and have no firm foundation in life.
  • I can contact family and friends in various ways to encourage them.
  • I can give financially to those in need and also support our church as our pastors continue to serve us.
  • I can watch my attitude at the shops, choosing to be generous rather than selfish. And I can live considerately at home too out of a place of peace rather than fear and turmoil.
  • As a writer, I can ask for God’s guidance and work hard at wording things well so that my readers will be blessed and encouraged.

May we all allow Jesus’ selflessness to impact us this Easter. And may we all learn to walk a little more as he would in this challenging time in our world.

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