Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Methodist Hymnal

On this dreary fall afternoon, I took my new old Methodist Hymnal down from the shelf to have a first perusal at the keyboard. I hadn't really played from it since I bought it - and I bought it on the day we moved two months ago. What a crazy day that was. Pouring rain, drop-dead exhausted pregnant, toddler into everything. At one point there was a break in the weather, and I took Walter for a walk in the stroller to keep him out from underfoot, and maybe even catch a last cherished sighting of the train crossing Main Street.
The break in the weather didn't last long, and by the time we were around the block, we were caught in another sudden downpour. I ran with the stroller into the nearby Methodist church which was having a rummage sale. After finding a shirt for Walter three sizes too big but at least dry, and putting it on him to buy later, I browsed the tables.
I found so many funny and memorable things that the watermelon magnets just like my grandmother used to have on her refrigerator, and the nifty peanut butter stirring lid that I'd always wanted, and the old lacey tablecloth that ended up being curtains for our bedroom in the new house. Then I discovered the treasure trove of ten cent books. Stuffing my hands and stroller with works of Lewis, Tolkien, Alcott and Wodehouse, I paused to peer further under the table in the dim corner and spied an old church hymnal. The Methodist Hymnal. I am not exactly a fan of modern United Methodism, but I had to have this hymnal, stamped with the Duncan Memorial church label. This was the church that played bell hymns over our block every noon and evening, speaking truth and cheer into my heart many times. On our last day in Berryville, I could not take the church chimes with me, but I could take the memory of them in this book - a reminder of the importance of encouraging the heart with song.
This evening I opened it and played "O Thou in Whose Presence My Soul Takes Delight", headphones plugged into the keyboard since Walter was napping and singing only in my heart since I have bronchitis. Why do I wait so long to do this? Music and truth together do so much good. Even if you don't have church bells to remind you, don't go too long without song - for the Lord is good and His mercy endures.

"Dear Shepherd, I hear and will follow Thy call;
I know the sweet sound of Thy voice.
Restore and defend me, for Thou art my All,
And in Thee I will ever rejoice."

 - Joseph Swain, 1791

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