Saturday, May 21, 2016

Informal?? God still shows up

This afternoon I had the great pleasure of attending an informal organ program put on by the American Guild of Organists, Toledo Chapter; but it wasn't really informal at all. The organists were performing on the Toledo Museum of Art’s Historic Skinner Organ, in the fabulous Peristyle. My Aunt Margaret (who, by the way is 99 years old!) is a member of the Guild, and has performed on the Skinner Organ many times through the years. I’m visiting her for a few days and this concert was just one of the items on the “Things To Do” lists she had ready. Of course I jumped at the chance to attend a concert in the Peristyle to hear this organ.

My Aunt said that there may only be one or two organists, or more, she just didn’t know. The organists from the Guild could sign up to participate and play an instrument that is normally unavailable to them. We were please to find there were six organists on the program! And it was a varied program, from Gershwin to Bach to Sousa to Grieg, and other composers I wasn’t familiar with.

It was a wonderful concert!! All the organists played beautifully and the sound was sooo lovely. And then, partway through the performance I felt the warmth that I’ve come to know means that the Holy Spirit is moving around (all those flames, you know!) and yet again I knew that we were all in the presence of God. I don’t know if anyone else felt it, but I did. The entire program was but one moment in time, shared by the organists who offered their gifts and the 80 or so of us in the audience offering our ears and our hearts. Presented in the universal language of music we all heard & understood. We were together in those moments, and they will never be again. It was a special time, shared by strangers. But that is what God does… we are brought together, share an experience, and go our different ways; yet we are all touched by those moments and are not the same as when we walked in the door. What a wonderful outcome on a Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sing a New Song in the Morning

The other morning I woke up before the alarm clock - for God sent me a living, singing alarm. There was a bird outside the open doors, singing away in joy for the dawn of a new day. Her song was beautiful and so joyful. And why not be joyful? The new day had come, the light followed the darkness, the world was waking to all the possibilities.

And I woke with the bird song in my heart and thankfulness to God for this day he has given me. A day where I can try (again) to live the life I am called to live. A day when I can let the past go and move forward. And this Hymn came to mind immediately. I sang this for years before I truly understood that in each new day, each new morning, God is there; with his love and his grace. All we need to do is to listen... and walk with Him.

New every morning is the love
our waking and uprising prove;
through sleep and darkness safely brought,
restored to life and power and thought. 

New mercies each returning day,
hover around us while we pray;
new perils past, new sins forgiven,
new thoughts of God, new hope of heaven.

If on our daily course our mind
be set to hallow all we find,
new treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.

Old friends, old scenes will lovelier be
as more of heaven in each we see;
some softening gleam of love and prayer
shall dawn on every cross and care.

The trivial round, the common task, 
will furnish all we need to ask;
room to deny ourselves: a road
to bring us daily nearer God.

Only, O Lord, in thy dear love,
fit us for perfect rest above; 
and help us this and every day,
to live more nearly as we pray. 

     John Keble (1822)

I look forward to what this, and every day, will bring. I can only hope and pray for another glimpse of God in the little (or big) things.