Singing 40 days

I set a goal for myself to sing my way through Lent this year, to learn by heart the text of a hymn each week.  We’ve completed four Lenten weeks, and I’ve worked through four hymns. 

Bless now, O God, the journey (Sylvia Dunstan, 1955-93) is a hymn that tells how no matter where our life’s path may take us—in the desert, on mountains or by still waters—Christ meets us on the road, not in some place of destination.  Faith is found in the present moment, not the future.  Dunstan says it much better than myself.  This hymn has encouraged me as I pray for my son and friends journeying out on the long hiking trail.

Tree of Life and awesome mystery (Marty Haugan, 1950-)  has some lines that grabbed my attention.  “We the river, you the sea”  reminds me that, carried in the Spirit, all our life is flowing towards and bringing others towards God.  “Every person lost and broken wears the body of the Lord” calls us to notice those around us and care for them as if we were caring for Christ himself.

I bind unto myself today is attributed to Patrick, bishop of Ireland (377-422).  There is something arresting about singing an ancient hymn, to hear the words of those who lived only a few centuries after Christ and were still trying to put into words the mystery of God as Trinity, of the gospel story that is basic to our faith.  But what I like best is how Patrick was connected to the land.  One stanza containing the “the whiteness of the moon at even” seemed appropriate to learn after my husband and I had been out watching and photographing the recent full moon that was passing closer to the earth.

Amazing Grace (John Newton, 1725-1807) arrived on my list to learn after worship last week where in John 11 we heard the blind man, healed by Jesus, say to his questioners:  I was blind, but now I see.  Actually, I mostly knew the five verses, so this was more a review.  We heard on Sunday how Newton, a former slave trader, learned without a doubt how incredible God’s grace and forgiveness was in order to rescue him from his wretched actions contributing to slavery and the deaths of fellow human beings.  The hymn has already found its way into two home/hospital visits this past week. 

Two more hymns to learn.  What will they be?  Somehow they make themselves known.  Meanwhile, with the ones I do know, it is time to go and softly sing myself through a walk with the dogs.


  1. Were the hymns accompanied by the “Lap Harp”(not sure of the proper name?) You play that well!

  2. No. But I should tune it up and use it, especially in the home visits. It’s an sutoharp.

  3. The Chicadee in the picture in your post, reminds me of yesterday morning. A cute lil blue bird was in my dormant coal stove. How those lil creatures manage to get up around and in and down past the cap of the chimney, baffles me. What these lil critters do to find a nesting spot for their young.
    To shine the flashlight through the window of the coal stove, to see the bluebird, that up close and personal…… To be so close to one of God’s creation, what a beauty. Proof of Him, our Savior.
    So, out with the stock pot, our bird catching device, (yes it has worked before, once)this is the 3rd bird in 3 years. I also opened the door (a french door out the side of the room), in case he got loose, he could go right out the door.
    So, onto the rescue, Nope he wasn’t budging when we opened the stove door a little and nudged the side of the stove, attempting to get him into the stock pot. Onto plan B,(!?, never had a plan B before!) I got the coal shovel thinking I could scoop under the coal under him….. with that, that lil guy up and “flew the coupe” out the stove door and out the side deck door! That Quick! 3 for 3 on saving birds from the coal stove.
    And no, I do not think he was in there very long, so I don’t think there is a chance he will get black lung!

  4. Smart bird to find the door that quick.