Tag Archive | church music

Another Talk with Abbey

Abbey-Marian

Late Sunday morning, after I got home from church, I was sitting in the La-Z-Boy in my office reading the newspaper. Abbey came up to me and sat down. I could tell by the look on her face that she wanted to talk. She started by asking me about church.

“Mom, how did the music go in church this morning? I know you played one of my favorite songs for the prelude, ‘God Will Take Care of You.’ I heard you practicing it.”

I replied with, “It’s funny you should ask, Abbey. Before church started Pastor Jeff asked me if I was going to play that song today. He thought he had heard me practicing it when I was in church on Friday. When I told him that song would be part of the prelude, he said that was quite a coincidence. That’s the song he was going to sing in his sermon. I told him it’s more surprising that we don’t have these ‘coincidences’ more often, since we both are studying the same Scriptures as we select our music for the service.”

Abbey responded, “Oh, that’s no coincidence, Mom. God obviously wanted the people in church to think about the words of that wonderful old hymn today.”

GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU
(Words: Civilla D. Martin, Music: W. Stillman Martin, 1904)

Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

Refrain:
God will take care of you.
Thru every day, o’er all the way,
He will take care of you;
God will take care of you.

Thru days of toil, when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
When dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.
Refrain

All you may need He will provide,
God will take care of you;
Nothing you ask will be denied,
God will take care of you.
Refrain

No matter what may be the test,
God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast,
God will take care of you.
Refrain

Dan and the dogs out for a ride. Holly on right. Sadie in background.

My brother Danny and the dogs out for a ride. Holly on right.

Abbey continued, “You know, Mom, I’m so glad you practiced that hymn all last week. That song has been on my mind ever since my cousin Holly was in an accident last Sunday and taken to the Emergency Animal Hospital in Madison. I know God takes care of us dogs, too. I really hoped that God would heal her body, but I guess God thought it was time for her to go to heaven instead.”

“You’re right, Abbey. We all love Holly so much. She has been an angel on earth for twelve years. Now it’s time for her to be an angel in heaven.”

“I guess so. But I’ll sure miss her.”

All the dogs get excited when Danny takes his recumbent bike out for a ride.

All the dogs get excited when Danny takes his recumbent bike out for a ride.

Abbey was quiet for a few minutes, obviously thinking deeply. Then she said, “That song is on my mind as I think about Uncle Dan, too. It’s been almost two months since he was diagnosed with leukemia. Even though it’s the “good” kind of leukemia, he’s really gotten sick from the chemo pill he takes every day. And then last Monday, he had to go to the hospital, too.”

“As the song says, Abbey, we can trust that God will take care of Uncle Dan, too. He’s got a team of some of the best doctors working together to make him better. He’s been accepted into a research study at the University of Wisconsin, which will give him the best, top priority, treatment possible. We certainly can be thankful for that. I think he might even be able to come home from the hospital early this week.”

"Sisters" - Holly and Sadie.

“Sisters” – Holly and Sadie.

“Oh, good! Cousin Sadie has been so lonely. First, her sister Holly left her. Then her mom and dad disappeared. She’ll be so happy to have them home again. Aunt Linda has been staying with Uncle Dan in the hospital, so it’s really been lonely for Sadie. I’ve been telling her about this comforting song all week. I wish I could sing it to her, but I don’t have much of a singing voice, so I’ve just been sending her the thoughts.”

God will take care of you.
Thru every day, o’er all the way,
He will take care of you;
God will take care of you.

“Those thoughts are good ones for all of us to keep in mind, all the time, Abbey. I’m glad we have that song to remind us that God loves us and is always with us.”

“Me, too, Mom. Can you keep playing it on the piano this week? Whenever I hear the tune, the words come to mind, and it feels just like I’m getting a hug from God.”

“I’ll remember that. I’ll keep playing the song and feel God hugging me, too.”

Abbey getting a big double hug

Abbey getting a big double hug from her two moms.

Great Expectations for this week – 7 of them!

For several weeks now, a friend of mine has been posting a list of three things she’s thankful for each day. Usually the lists are just that – three words or short phrases in a simple list format – just a quick statement of things she’s particularly thankful for that day. That practice got me thinking in lists. Today I made a list of some “Great Expectations” I have for this week. There are seven items on my list. I’m not nearly as concise as my friend, but here’s my list of “Great Expectations for this Week.”

  1. An inspiring and productive Writers Week at Whispering Winds. This week has been designated on our retreat calendar as “Retreat for Writers.” Several writers will be coming to Whispering Winds for a day or two to write, to be away from their distractions at home and to focus their energy entirely on writing. I expect each writer to have a wonderfully inspiring and productive time here.
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  2. Safe travel for weekend guests. This coming weekend a couple guests are coming to Cambridge for the wedding of a friend. One is coming from the east coast. The other is coming from Europe. I trust each guest will have safe travels, joyful celebrations with their friends, and a relaxing and refreshing time at Whispering Winds.
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  3. A good time of reflection at the women’s worship service at the county jail.  Reading Scripture, giving testimonies, singing hymns, and praying together with the chaplain and several inmates is a truly special time of sharing deep thoughts and feelings with each other and with God. I always look forward to playing the piano for these services and being invited to participate with the group in their sharing activities.
  4. Playing the pipe organ at Messiah

    Finding just the right organ music for next Sunday’s church service. As a church organist, I usually try to find a prelude and postlude, and sometimes other special music, that reinforces the main theme of the Scripture for that day. As I study the lectionary readings for Sunday, and flip through the pages of organ arrangements, I trust that just the right music will jump out at me. Almost always, that’s what happens. Sometimes the process takes an hour. Sometimes most of a day. My expectation is that the prelude will help people get in the right mindset for the message of the day, and that the postlude will help people remember what God is saying to them through the Scriptures, the sermon, and the hymns.
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  5. My brand new great-great-nephew and his mom will go home from the hospital early this week. Ethan is the 2-day-old son of Christina and Josh. Christina is the daughter of my nephew Terry and his wife, Eng (originally from Cambodia). Terry is the oldest son of my sister, Nancy, and her husband, Clark. Family connections are wonderful – especially the longer they get. Just think of all the people who are rejoicing over the birth of Ethan – literally all around the world – because of how we all are connected.
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    Marian’s grandfather plowing with horses.

  6. A smooth implementation of all the changes I just made on our website. Lots of new pictures. More information about the thread of hospitality that can be traced from the beginnings in 1908 when my grandparents bought the farm, through all the uses of the farm in the 104 years since then. Ending with some conjecture about how the farmhouse will be used next… Here’s a direct link to the new Past & Future section, http://whisperingwindsretreathaven.com/pastfuture.html.
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  7. That this blog post will prompt readers to ponder and be thankful for their own expectations for this week.