Work and Reward

I did it! I survived last week! Once a year I have a week filled with something I hate to do – accounting. Throughout the other 51 weeks of the year, I simply put all receipts, invoices, and any other papers that look important for tax reasons into file folders, one for each month. Then comes the one awful week every year, usually in February or March, when I tell myself I can’t do anything fun until I “do the accounting” for the year.

“Doing the accounting” entails entering hundreds of transactions into QuickBooks, reviewing the preliminary numbers that the computer cranks out, looking for things that don’t seem reasonable, hunting through the house for papers that must have escaped being filed and that could be anywhere, and finally getting everything organized enough to give to a real accountant who will prepare final financial statements for our businesses and calculate and file our taxes for us.

It’s done. The mess of papers is organized. We met with our accountant and turned over our records Friday afternoon. Now I can get back to doing the fun stuff. That’s my reward for suffering last week. I actually started doing fun stuff yesterday afternoon. This week, instead of my desk being covered by receipts and invoices, it is covered with hymnals and songbooks. Much better!

My first “fun” project is to remind myself of all the wonderful music that has been created over the centuries to help us turn closer to God during the Lenten season (February 22 through April 7 this year).  Why am I doing that? Mainly because I want to, but I have a couple other reasons, too.

First, Joan Gunderman is preparing another E-Retreat that Whispering Winds will be offering throughout Lent. She has asked me to prepare some of the reflections, making use of some of the musical resources that are particularly meaningful during Lent. I’ll share more information about the E-Retreat next week.

Second, Whispering Winds will be holding its first quarterly hymn sing of 2012 on March 18 (the third Sunday of the third month of the quarter at 3:00). I want to prepare a songbook, similar to what we had for our Christmas Carol Sing. My plan is to include five sections: traditional hymns, spirituals, gospel songs, contemporary songs, and possibly a few secular songs, as well. (After all, the hymn sing is the day after St. Patrick’s Day!)

My first step in preparing for both the E-Retreat and the Hymn Sing is to remind myself of all the wonderful music out there for Lent – “there” being in hymnals, songbooks, hymn story books, and the Internet. What fun! Imagine yourself sitting in the back of a Lutheran Church, listening to the congregation sing every song in the Lent section of their hymnal. Then picture yourself sitting in an African American Baptist Church, listening to that congregation sing all the songs in the Lent section of their hymnal. Then imagine yourself in Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Pentecostal, and contemporary-style non-denominational churches. That’s what I get to imagine this week. To help my imagination, I’ll sit at the piano with all those hymnals and songbooks, and play through every song. Then I’ll search for some of my favorites on YouTube. This is going to be a fun week! My reward for living through last week.

I’ve already found a new treasure, “He Looked beyond My Fault” (text by Dottie Rambo, copyright 1968 by John T. Benson Publishing Company).  The tune is Londonderry Aire (“Danny Boy”). I discovered it in the African American Heritage Hymnal (GIA Publications,  2001). Here are the words.

Amazing grace shall always be my song of praise,
For it was grace that bought my liberty;
I do not know just why Christ came to love me so,
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.
I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary,
To view the cross where Jesus died for me;
How marvelous the grace that caught my falling soul,
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.

In case you have a hard time imagining how that sounds, here’s a link to a YouTube video I found of a choir singing it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt_ETF0Pccc.

Hope you have a wonderful week, too!

6 thoughts on “Work and Reward

    • Hi, Gretchen. Glad the post was helpful. I’ll be happy to share any more treasures I find as I’m going through all my hymnals, songbooks, and YouTube searches this week. I can also send you a copy of the songbook I put together, if you’d like. Marian

      • I’d be thrilled to be the recipient of your excellent work. Our hymnal has no specifically Lenten hymns/songs in it so I’m spending a LOT of time mulling it all though (which I rather enjoy, but my time seems so limited). Anything you can share would be great. I’m doing worship planning for Lent right now! And I can certainly put your songbook to work in the future! Thank you!

      • One of my favorite hymnals to be reminded of hymns and spirituals that we don’t sing much any more is THIS FAR BY FAITH: An African American Resource for Worship, published by Augsburg Fortress, Minneapolis. It also includes a few newer songs. Some good songs in their Lent and Holy Week sections include:

        I WANT JESUS TO WALK WITH ME
        THAT PRICELESS GRACE
        LEAD ME, GUIDE ME
        ALAS! AND DID MY SAVIOR BLEED/AT THE CROSS
        JESUS, KEEP ME NEAR THE CROSS/NEAR THE CROSS
        DAYS ARE FILLED WITH SORROW AND CARE/BURDENS ARE LIFTED AT CALVARY
        WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS
        THEY CRUCIFIED MY LORD/HE NEVER SAID A MUMBALIN’ WORD
        WERE YOU THERE?
        OH, HOW HE LOVES YOU AND ME
        JESU, JESU, FILL US WITH YOUR LOVE
        WHERE CHARITY AND LOVE PREVAIL (Tune: Martyrdom)
        KING OF MY LIFE/LEAD ME TO CALVARY

        The two hymns that we’ll be singing throughout Lent for the women’s worship service at the county jail are TAKE, OH, TAKE ME AS I AM, and AMAZING GRACE. Both songs can be very meaningful, particularly in prompting personal reflection. The first one is a short chorus by John L. Bell. (My source for it is EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN WORSHIP, p. 814.)

        My personal favorite is JESUS WALKED THIS LONESOME VALLEY. It’s fun to sing and play, and has good words. However, the words are very different, depending on where you find them. The more familiar words are in THE PRESBYTERIAN HYMNAL, p. 80. WORSHIP AND REJOICE, p. 254, has new words for verses 2-4 written by Jack Schrader. I like both versions a lot.

        Let me know if you’d like help in finding any of these songs. I’ll send you my songbook as soon as it’s finished. Not sure when that will be yet – sometime between the end of this week and March 18. Marian

  1. Can’t wait for the hymn sing. I know the work that goes into it and that makes it more dear. God bless you and keep you as you inspire us! nancy K.

    • Thanks, Nancy. I’ll look forward to seeing you at all our hymn sings this year. I thought it might be harder to find music that will be both fun and meaningful to sing for Lent, much harder than for Christmas, but I’ve been surprised at all I’m finding.

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