Thursday, November 3, 2016

"Precious mem'ries, how they linger ... How they ever flood my soul ... In the stillness of the midnight ... Precious, sacred scenes unfold." ~ Lyrics from the song, 'Precious Memories', written by J.B.F. Wright in 1925

Knock Knock. Who's there? Norma Lee. Norma Lee who? Norma Lee I have my key but not today, can you please let me in? That little joke reminds me that I show up each day with my delivery and I am so appreciative for all who are willing to open it up and check it out. I think that was supposed to be an icebreaker but I may have confused it with an iceberg. Good morning. Welcome to another episode of The View From Here, penned by yours truly, (actually typed in), on this Thursday, November 3, 2016. The hymn sing we attended the other evening really brought back memories. My wife and her family grew up singing. The wife and I have sung together for over 50 years. Dorothy, the wife's sister, was with us at the singing and her late husband Charles sang bass and led singing for many years. Their family had a group that sang in Churches for several years. We still play their CD's. Glenda was with us. She's a gifted singer. Her late husband, our dear Bro. Milton, was a good singer and he dearly loved Gospel music. My family didn't produce many good singers but we always identified with the songs reflecting our faith. My grandfather couldn't do much with a tune, but, that didn't keep him from participating. Last Sunday evening as we re-visited those old songs I could picture him standing in his place, slightly swaying to the music, book in hand and singing along. I could see Bro. Milton adding his booming voice to mix. I could hear my granny as she rocked and sang of the testimonies that defined her faith. I also could see my wife's parents. Her dad loved to sing lead in a group. Her mom would sit and tap her foot to keep time to the music. Most of the time she had her little cassette recorder and it would be capturing the songs that she would play throughout the night. Some seem baffled as to why folks have a connection to things like the hymns and songs of the faith. I suppose one would have to have been there and done that to grasp the living legacy felt when those tunes are played again. Thrilling stuff is you ask me. No wonder they call them precious memories. Amen.

I heard the Gospel comedy speaker Dennis Swanberg tell a story about his dad, (Floyd Leon). His elderly dad was telling Dennis about the new music leader they had in their Church. His dad told Dennis the new guy would slip in one of those new praise songs now and then. Dennis reminded his dad the new songs were okay and they reflect truth too. His dad told him he had tried to explain to a buddy about the difference between a hymn of the faith and one of the new praise songs. His dad said an old hymn would be like, "The cow got into the field and ate the corn." He said the newer praise song would be like, "The cow, the cow, the cow, got into the field, the field, the field, and ate the corn, the corn, the corn, the corn." The folks hearing that story burst out laughing. The video showed that most of them nodding and carrying on were sporting gray or white hair. Some say it is a generational gap. Others think it has mostly to do with personal preferences. I think it's likely all of the above with some other stuff thrown in for good measure. (Personal memories, foundational truths, etc.) The good news is that hymn writing is still alive and well. The globally popular "In Christ Alone" is a modern day hymn, written by Irish songwriter Keith Getty along with his writing partner from England, Stuart Townsend. Perhaps more songs like it will help to build a bridge.

At the end of it all, we must be reminded that true worship comes only from the heart and God is the only one who knows each heart, from the inside out. Dr. J. Vernon MaGee used to say he would not mindlessly follow along and mouth words to a song if he felt like he couldn't mean it. He said it's easy to sing I Surrender All but a completely different matter to be surrendered fully to God. He mentioned the song that repeats over and over, "I love you Lord." Again, much easier to sing but to really love God has very far reaching implications. The other evening when we were at the Celtic Thunder concert there were times when the drums were so loud I could actually feel them inside of my chest. Some may have enjoyed that experience. To me, it interfered with me enjoying the songs. The songs tell a story. I need to hear and process the lyrics. Fortunately, it wasn't that way on every presentation. In whatever genre we might favor, the important truth is to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit and as the kid's song puts it, "Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory, Children of the Lord." The materials covered in today's edition originated with the writer, therefore, he is solely responsible for its content. You knew that already? Good! Have a great day and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ...More later.

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