Recently, I had some members of my extended family come for a brief visit. On the last morning, they attended our 7:00 am Lauds and Eucharist service. I deliberately planted myself next to my 10-year-old great-nephew, figuring he might need a little “guidance” through the service. The church was quiet and still as we took our seats in the visitors’ section. The introduction to the opening hymn came floating from everywhere, as the organist surrounded us with the most beautiful melody. I turned and caught the look of wonder and pure delight on Luke’s face as he reveled in the moment. I thought to myself, “Don’t ever take this for granted”.
Sometimes the most unexpected things catch me up short and give me a fresh shot of energy. Getting out of bed was not easy this morning after two runs last night of our upcoming play “The Dining Room.” But I dragged myself to a brass rehearsal at 6:00am (leaving my dog snoozing soundly on his bed!) The first perk was playing “Be Thou My Vision” – one of my favorites – with a great brass group – what’s not to love? But what really caught my attention this morning, after slipping into my seat for Lauds and wondering if I’d make it through the service without falling asleep, was the introduction to the week’s hymn. Our organist was telling us a little of the history of the text written by John Bunyan as he sat in a prison cell, having already suffered tremendous personal loss. Singing his words I had one of those awesome moments where suddenly all life’s “problem’s” seem insignificant in the face of the hugeness of God and the fantastic and exciting adventure that it is to live the Christian life.
“He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster, Let him in constancy follow the Master. There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.”
“Since, Lord, Thou dost defend us with Thy Spirit, We know we at the end, shall life inherit. Then fancies flee away! I’ll fear not what men say, I’ll labor night and day to be a pilgrim.”