Just yesterday a young friend of mine faced one of the many quandaries of life, one more of those tricky quandaries that make us feel like a wishbone, jerked between what is right for us and what others say is right for us.
For years my friend had participated in this group in order to do an activity she truly loves. Recently, the group had begun pushing her and nagging her to do something on a timeline they thought would be appropriate.
We teach little children prayers to say every night before they go to sleep. As parents, we listen to their prayers. And sometimes, as we listen to those sweet little voices, we might think, ‘Surely prayers should be more.’
Then, as we age, we think those prayers are for the little people. They seem too simple for our complex lives.
And our mistake is when we try to make our prayers more when simple is better.
In this day of contemporary music and blended worship services, with more musical instruments than just pianos and organs, the staid traditional services that I once bemoaned now seem strange. We have so much more now.
Today the spirit of the service is set with a mix of pianos and guitars, organs and drums.
When we regularly sing music from Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman and updates to standard hymns like “Amazing Grace” and “Just As I Am”, the dry old services of my past seem more than outdated.
Those old services now seem strange.
Then, they just seemed . . . tired.
In the Dark Ages, I once volunteered to play the piano for my church (a chore that I thought would only last a few months). I tried to add new music for the piano solos before service and the offertory: new arrangements of old hymns and old praise songs that my plain church had never sung.
Favorites were “Flee as a Bird to your Mountain”. The piano arrangement I used was beautiful. here is another one ~
and “God So Loved the World”, one more favorite, is here ~
One More: The Top Favorite of Those Old Hymns
After all, the new arrangements I found in music books that I bought from the local Christian book store. And the old praise songs were from the back of my Broadman hymnal.
I ran through a lot of songs in the few years that I served as pianist.
One of the songs that I kept in constant rotation, primarily because it was less than a minute, was something that I called “Glory Be” but is actually called “Gloria Patri”.
Glory be to the Father
And to the Son
And to the Holy Ghost
As it was in the beginning
Is now and ever shall be
World without end. Amen. Amen.
Isn’t it lovely? Praise and contemplation, wish and hope, all in six lines packed with glory.
There. I promised today’s blog would be short. And sweet.