Category Archives: Friendship

Life Changes

Having grown up in the Church, I have been church singing all my life, often in a choir. I have been singing in my current church choir for over ten years now. Right after I joined, and after I had left for the summer, the choir director/organist left the church, and I still don’t fully understand why. But when I returned from my summer hiatus I discovered the choir was reduced from probably 25 members to 8 or so. And the recent choir members left the church as well. I was shocked.

We had a wonderful interim organist/choir director. He was serious about singing good music, annunciating well, and doing what was necessary to aid worship. In retrospect I see that he also encouraged us to become a cohesive group. I listened, and in my own way I did what I thought I could to do to help that effort. Then our Mary came. Mary is an incredibly talented pianist and musician. If you heard her play the organ you would think she was also trained in organ as well.

I don’t think Mary had much education in choral music, but her husband did, and he came to ALL of our rehearsals. (Both of them graduated from Julliard). They were quite the team! Tim was focused, but also had a wonderful sense of humor. Mary, was just steady and amazing in her accompaniment and also directing. I could not fathom how she could play some of that complicated accompaniment and yet lift a hand to give us a cue. Mary is shy and quiet, and Tim had a dry and quick sense of humor. Tim also came to all of our bell rehearsals, and taught all of us how to play the dang things.

In the last 5 years or so Mary was the recipient of numerous and frequent complaints about music choices, speed of hymns, and even suggestions that she not play the organ any more. But we kept singing, often singing classic worship music almost no one sings any more. It was such a blessing to me, and I hope to others as well. I sang so much music I had admired, but never imagined I would ever sing.

Mary is leaving in two weeks. She and the family are moving back to Florida. I, and my choir members (all 5 of us) are devastated. I plan to go back to Georgia for our last rehearsal and worship service. I don’t know, but I think probably this will be the end of our choir, and the end of the organ during the service. I am sad, but also very grateful.

True Friendship

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Friendship

Friendship! peculiar boon of Heaven,
The noble mind’s delight and pride,
To men and angels only given,
To all the lower world denied.

While love, unknown among the bless’d,
Parent of thousand wild desires,
The savage and the human breast
Torments alike with raging fires.

With bright, but oft destructive gleam,
Alike o’er all his lightnings fly,
Thy lambent glories only beam
Around the favourites of the sky.

Thy gentle flows of guiltless joys
On fools and villains ne’er descend;
In vain for thee the tyrant sighs,
And hugs a flatterer for a friend.

Directness of the brave and just,
Oh guide us through life’s darksome way!
And let the tortures of mistrust
On selfish bosoms only prey.

Nor shall thine ardours cease to glow,
When souls to peaceful climes remove.
What raised our virtue here below
Shall aid our happiness above.

                      –Samuel Johnson

 

And a favorite of mine from G.K. Chesterton on this, his birthday:

 “Through all this ordeal his root horror had been isolation, and there are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematicians that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

In Praise of Finding Common Ground

 

I had several conversations over the weekend with a young man who I had previously known only as an infant and child of friends.  It was so much fun, as soon as we both realized we had some common interests and ideas.  I was reminded of Lewis’s comment when talking with an acquaintance and realizing they enjoyed the same story and his response to that knowledge:  “What, you too?”

Not only years separated us, but knowledge and interest.  He came alive when talking about programs he had written, and his enthusiasm drew me in.  Writing code is a beautiful thing, I realized.  Then, in a conversation about conservatism and what it means, struggling for clarity, I mentioned “beauty” and he lit up.  What ensued was praise of his college English professor (“she was tough”) who required him to read Austen’s “Emma.”  The story, and the process of understanding it made a lasting impression on him.  So now I will read “Emma” for the first time.  Today, as he requested, I sent him a short list of suggestions to read from Lewis, Auden, Eliot and O’Connor.

Not By Chance

From The Four Loves, by C. S. Lewis:
For a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances.  A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work.  Christ, who said to the disciples “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends “You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.”  The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out.  It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others.  They are no greater than the beauties of a thousand other men; by Friendship God opens our eyes to them.  They are, like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship, increased by Him through the Friendship itself, so that it is His instrument for creating as well as for revealing.  At this feast it is He who has spread the board and it is He who has chosen the guests.  It is He, we may dare to hope, who sometimes does, and always should, preside.  Let us not reckon without our Host.
                                     chap. 4.,  para. 61

Harry Knutson

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One of the first people in my church here that I came to love was Harry Knutson. He was on the Missions and Benevolences committee with me. Harry didn’t talk much, but I never wanted to miss what he did say because it was always to the point, often accompanied by his wonderful droll humor.  I wish I could remember verbatim some of the responses he gave to my weekly “How are you?” or “It is good to see you, Harry.”  Harry embodied what it means to be a Christian. He was faithful, dependable, compassionate, and always ready with a smile. He adored his wife, Ruth.  One of the humblest people I’ve known, in spite of his professional accomplishments (and I know they are impressive), his obituary reflected that trait:
Harry Knutson – SAVANNAH – Harry Knutson, 93, passed away peacefully at his home Friday, February 24, 2017. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Friday, March 10, 2017 at Skidaway Island Presbyterian Church. Please sign our on-line guest book at http://www.foxandweeks.com Savannah Morning News February 26, 2017

I saw Harry from a distance, conversing with a friend the Sunday before he died, so I did not speak to him like I normally do. I miss him, but I am very happy for him.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.   Ps. 116:15