What grace is mine that He who dwells in endless light Called through the night to find my distant soul And from His scars poured mercy that would plead for me That I might live and in His name be known
So I will go wherever He is calling me I lose my life to find my life in Him I give my all to gain the hope that never dies I bow my heart take up my cross and follow Him
What grace is mine to know His breath alive in me Beneath His wings my wakened soul may soar All fear can flee for death’s dark night is overcome My Savior lives and reigns for evermore
So I will go wherever He is calling me I lose my life to find my life in Him I give my all to gain the hope that never dies I bow my my heart take up my cross and follow Him I bow my heart take up my cross and follow Him
1 Break forth, O beauteous heav’nly light, and usher in the morning; O shepherds, shrink not with affright, but hear the angel’s warning. This Child, now weak in infancy, our confidence and joy shall be; the pow’r of Satan breaking, our peace eternal making. 2 Break forth, O beauteous heav’nly light, to herald our salvation; He stoops to earth–the God of might, our hope and expectation. He comes in human flesh to dwell, our God with us, Immanuel; the night of darkness ending, our fallen race befriending.
Yesterday our music director, Dr. Mary McKee played a familiar Bach tune as the postlude. Here is her music note about the arrangement:
“The postlude is a majestic and exuberant arrangement of “Now Thank We All Our God” by J. S. Bach which he wrote for his Cantata No. 79. Virgil Fox, the flamboyant concert organist, then took Bach’s setting and adapted it for organ. The original tune heard in fragments on the bold solo stops can’t be missed over Bach’s countermelody. ”
Our neighborhood Episcopal church also heard the same piece of music yesterday because their music director, Mary’s husband, Dr. Tim McKee, also played it. The two organs are quite different, the one at St. Peter’s is a wonderful pipe organ, unlike ours, which is a very nice electric one. The music is glorious!
Here are links to both streamed services, with the time stamps for the postludes.
I watched a BBC production of Christ Church Choir today which included a brief interview with Dr. Allan Chapman, a science historian, of Wadham College. At one point he was asked “What would you say is the value of faith through your general life?” His answer, “Utterly fundamental.”
Immediately my mind remembered C. S. Lewis’s comment, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
For many years it was the tradition for Salvation Army band members to get up at the crack of dawn on Christmas Day and wake the town with the Christmas song “Christians Awake, Salute the Happy Morn.”
Here is Salvation Army officer Major Alan Young playing it on his cornet for the village of Pill in North Somerset, England…
Christians, awake, salute the happy morn,
whereon the Savior of the world was born;
rise to adore the mystery of love,
which hosts of angels chanted from above;
with them the joyful tidings were begun
of God incarnate and the Virgin’s son. . . .
Oh, may we keep and ponder in our mind
God’s wondrous love in saving lost mankind!
Trace we the babe, who hath retrieved our loss,
from his poor manger to his bitter cross.
Tread in his steps, assisted by his grace,
Till man’s first heavenly state again takes place.
Then may we hope, th’angelic throngs among,
to sing, redeemed, a glad triumphal song;
he that was born upon this joyful day
around us all his glory shall display;
saved by his love, incessant we shall sing
eternal praise to heav’n’s almighty King.”
Over the last couple of days I drove up the east coast from Georgia to Rhode Island. I have always enjoyed driving trips and I do not mind at all being alone in the car. I especially enjoy the time to just think, listen to music, and let my mind wander without interruption. Sounds pretty self centered, and I admit it is.
This trip was lovely. I was ready to leave the becoming hot and humid Deep South. When I arrived in North Carolina I enjoyed their wildflower plantings, first gloriosa daisies, then poppies, and finally lupines…all lovely. I do love Virginia, but what you see along interstate 95 is not the prettiest part. I did enjoy a few farm scenes, and then, especially loved passing near to the Stonewall Jackson shrine, which I have visited in the past. By the time I approached Washington D.C. the traffic had intensified (not unusual, even for a Saturday) and it was stop and go for a long time. But then I had a gift….on the bridge where the views over to the shrines and capitol are clearest I was the only vehicle in sight so I had the pleasure of looking around and enjoying the views without worrying about hitting a car. It really was a gift because I love those monuments and buildings.
This morning, through much of New Jersey I witnessed a beautiful, peaceful overcast sky that just couldn’t hide the splendor of the sun which highlighted the clouds and sprayed incredible rays over the entire landscape…for miles and miles I saw it. New York City was a delight too…by the time I was in Elizabeth, NJ. And it continued over the GW bridge. Then when I got to Fairfield, CT I had a wonderful surprise…wisteria….twice!! So much beauty in a lot of places.
This morning I listened to the Elvis radio channel for a while, which I rarely do any more. They played a couple of his more religious songs, “How Great Thou Art” and “An Evening Prayer.” I thought about how main stream it was to sing things like that in the early 1970s. Today it is not generally socially acceptable to talk about the magnificence of God and how we need forgiveness ….subjects of those songs. It made me sad because when we lose our understanding of how far above us our God is we also lose our felt need to be forgiven. Then we are lost. But I am very thankful for a special trip that felt like a personal gift from someone who loves me.