So, I just finished a really interesting book! It is called “Abide With Me – A Photographic Journey Through Great British Hymns”…and let me tell you, I enjoyed the abiding!
The photographs are truly amazing, though they are not why I initially wanted to read the book. I read a book a year or so ago that was in some way related to the backstory of a famous hymn, and I was really touched by the truth behind it. So, I saw the title of this book and figured it would be interesting. Having been brought up in a traditional Protestant church, I wondered if I might be familiar with any of the hymns mentioned…Allow me to say that “familiar” does not even begin to convey…
What a pleasure it was, to read about the authors of these famous hymns: their lives, the circumstances in which they wrote, how they came to their calling, and their home sites and churches! And speaking of “sights”….let’s get back to those photographs! They are just so, so, so beautiful, and they support the information quite well. Some of my favorite stories include the ones for “Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love”, “Take my life and let it be” (whose writer, by the way, Ms. Frances Ridley Havergal, turned down SEVEN marriage proposals so that she could focus on hymnwriting and music!), and also “Just as I am” (to name only a few).
Did you know that many hymn writers were preachers who often wrote these hymns to coincide with their next sermon? Did you know that “Onward Christian Soldiers” was written, in fact, to ensure that children would keep up the pace as they marched behind their pastor one Sunday? (Sabine Baring-Gould)
If you love travel at all, have a hankering to see ancient stone buildings and deep green countrysides, this book will certainly cause you to drool —tastefully, of course. It may also stir your faith to hear of these wonderfully dedicated disciples and how they brought us the musical treasures we have now…Many of us love more contemporary praise and worship music now, but who of us who had the luxury of growing up, even absent-mindedly, in some kind of church as a kid, will not feel even the slightest bit of “home-comfort” feeling when reading about these songs and hearing them in our heads?
Oh! I almost forgot! You don’t just have to hear them in your heads! The book comes with a CD of the hymns! Wow, huh?!! Quite honestly, that really helped, too, as there were some hymns and poems I hadn’t heard before, so I enjoyed the added bonus!
To sum up, I found the book well-written, very interesting and faith stirring, and the bonuses of picture and song absolutely icing-on-the-cake. (It was written by John H. Parker; photography by Paul Seawright, both amazing artists in their own right. Be sure to read the “About the Authors” section!)
Look for Abide With Me from New Leaf Press, ever’body!
…….On my mind today……
Back in January, before I had this blog, I happened “by accident” on this verse in Exodus (I don’t believe in accidents. I was supposed to be reading in Genesis, using the same numbers I am about to give, and as always, the Holy Spirit led me where I really needed to go.) So, I am reading along in Exodus thinking “why don’t I remember any of this from a few days ago?” (I had been traveling. I know. excuses.) But anyway, there I was.
Exodus 16:17-20…talking about gathering manna each morning and not hoarding, verses 19-20: “Moses said to them, ‘Don’t leave any of it until morning.’ But they didn’t listen to Moses. A few of the men kept back some of it until morning. It got wormy and smelled bad…”
I can think of a few levels in which that could apply…hoarding ANYTHING. Food. Emotions. Bitterness. Money. etc, etc etc. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anything in my life to start getting wormy and smelling bad!
So, what are you holding back from God today? Are you hoarding anything?
Let this next thing be a comfort to you…
In Mark 6: 39-44…after the feast of 5 loaves and 2 fishes, there were 12 baskets of leftovers the disciples had gathered. Now, some of you may already know this, but 12 is a holy number. Setting that knowledge aside, let’s just look at a practical fact here: There are 12 disciples. There are 12 baskets of leftovers. Feasibly one basket of leftovers per disciple. How many of you realize that a basket holds plenty of stuff? Our stomachs are only as big as one or two fists, so surely those baskets each held more than one meal worth of food. My point? Could this also be a demonstration that following Jesus closely, as a disciple, means that you are given your own portion (a basket) and that it holds more than enough?
So, knowing that, do we need to hold anything back? I ask you again, what might you be hoarding today? There is no need. It will only get wormy and smell bad. He will give you your very own portion, and it will be enough.
I love you, all, whoever might be reading this.
If any of you would like to follow Jesus and have your own portion and don’t already, please let me know. I’d love to introduce you to Him…
May you be blessed with all the love you can stand and more today!