Sunday, December 29, 2013
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
This morning, we held our traditional after-Christmas hymn sing during our worship service. Our service was filled with familiar hymns, sung with a combination of reverence and jubilation. We preceded our singing with the responsive reading of John Wesley's "Directions for Singing" found in the beginning of our Methodist hymnal. We read aloud John Wesley's words, admonishing us to "sing lustily and with good courage," while also being sure to sing "modestly" and "spiritually." One of the hymns we sang was "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty," a piece whose melody dated back to 1665 and lyrics to 1680. As we sang, my mind went back 40+ years when I sang in our church's junior choir. Our director, Beverly Westerman, had a way of channeling our youthful energy to make lovely music together. Ours was a large choir, so large in fact, that I often was relegated to sitting on a folding chair outside of the wood confines of our choir loft. It was in that choir that I first remember singing "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" and at Christmastime, "Do You Hear What I Hear?". Today, while flooded with happy memories, I contemplated the lyrics and how they apply to my life today, "Ponder anew what the Almighty can do....join me in glad adoration." I dare say that John Wesley would have approved.