Saturday, December 13, 2014

God's Love in Simple and Strong Music of the Years

As a child I loved to play along a creek behind home. When I got older, I went on family trips to the mountains of North Carolina. As a teen, I was one summer a church camp counselor in a large wooded setting; when I returned home my mother said she was amazed that I not only liked to see nature but to live within it.

Mother encouraged me to play the piano and managed for me to have one at home, and I have that piano in my home now. When I concentrate, I can play a few old songs on those keys.

The love of God, for me, resounds through nature, music, and giving, caring people.

I have chosen to include today a few special old songs that I found on YouTube. The first choice is intentional. It tells of the cross that stands over the world of history and faith; I like the presenter's photo that contains the words--for Lift High the Cross--and shows a stream of people crossing a city bridge. In the outdoors, with  nature's sky above, it speaks of the assurances of God that lift the mind and spirit.

Another selection, For the Beauty of the Earth names facets of nature, and this peaceful yet strong hymn was one of my favorites when I was a child. There are at least two music compositions for this song, and I chose this English one because John Rutter has put beautiful photography with it. It speak of love and nature, and both lift my heart to God..

Some of the most secure music memories for me include the voice of George Beverly Shea, whose rich, round tones and phrasing carry so well this message of God's love. "Beyond the eyes horizon, there's more, much more," he said during this singing. If you want to hear him sing at nearly age 103, here is the link. You will not be disappointed, I think. YouTube has many selections from his much younger days.

What more should I add now? Perhaps the great faithfulness of God, with whom we are never lost in loneliness. This song has reassured me on many an occasion when it seemed too easy to think discouraging thoughts. God is with us through "the valley of the shadow of death" and in every joy, sorrow, testing time and resting time.

Whatever is going on in our lives in these days, remembering the love, faithfulness and beauty of God moment by moment is our great strength for the day. And the love shown on that Old Rugged Cross  signifies the perfect payment for everyone who believes this, so that freedom is there from sin and iniquity of the world. The version here was sung and signed by Johnny Cash.

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