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Posts Tagged ‘stained-glass windows’

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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My husband and I can often be found with our noses in a book. Our taste in reading matter is quite different—and it is even more different when it comes to brain teasers, puzzles and the like. While I revel in The Times Big Book of Quick Crosswords, with their almost cryptic challenges and many references to history and literature, my husband loves The Times Super Fiendish Sudoku! Neither of us is in any way tempted to tackle each other’s puzzles—and I would be a dead loss at sudoku anyway!

Twice recently and in very public settings, the different tastes we all have has been brought home to me in no uncertain terms. The first occurred while giving a talk on my writing journey and the books I read during my early years. As soon as I mentioned the Australian novel We of the Never Never by Mrs Aeneas Gunn, a lady right at the front called out loudly with great vehemence.

‘Oh, I hated that book—I absolutely despised it! It was terrible—terrible!’

For a moment, I was floored. How could I pick up momentum after that? In the end, I pointed out how well her comment demonstrated that we all have different tastes and that writers have to let go of the idea that their own wonderful book will please everyone. Even before I had begun speaking that day, I sensed this lady was somewhat antagonistic towards me. Yet now there she was, nodding enthusiastically. Phew!

IMG_20190504_102706212The second occurred during a recent tour of the beautiful, old St Saviour’s Cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn, considered one of colonial architect Edmund Blacket’s greatest achievements and a fine example of the decorated Gothic style. Our group listened attentively as our guide pointed out various interesting aspects about the cathedral, such as its huge, marble font, its massive pipe organ, the wonderful stained-glass windows featuring the twelve apostles, and the bishop’s chair, the tallest in the southern hemisphere, intricately carved from oak. I myself was in awe of the skills of all those craftsmen who had laboured over each beautiful piece and whose work had stood the test of time. But then I noticed some of our group frowning and whispering together.

‘It’s all lovely, but imagine what it cost to build! And imagine how much all the upkeep costs now. It’s such a waste really,’ I heard one of them say, as she shook her head.

I could see her point—after all, there is so much need everywhere in the world around us. Yet I could also appreciate how those craftsmen must have wanted to create this beautiful building and all it contains to honour God and enable others to worship.

What would your response have been?

Yes, we are all different, with different tastes, different abilities, different priorities in life and often different ways of worshipping God too. May we learn to celebrate these, as we serve God in our own unique way and faithfully do the things God has called us to do!

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

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