Yes, it is true, I have been away a long time again from this blog. There have been personal challenges, but at least I have spent much time thinking about blogging. I have missed being here and I have missed all of you who stop by and leave thoughts and messages.
Despite the fact that I do not have a food recipe to share, I would like to share some thoughts with you about an experience I had last night. It is a recipe, of sorts, for happiness.
I am, by nature, as well as by teaching, a person of faith. I have absolutely no doubts that there is a God and I offer him all of my heart willingly.
I often find myself singing around the house. I sing a lot – to my grandkids, to the dog, to myself – and make up silly songs that make me laugh. My voice is mostly not very good. I hit far more wrong notes than I do right notes. I’ve never had a strong singing voice; it’s rather whimpy and my vocal range is maybe an octave in an alto range. Nevertheless, I like to sing. It’s good for the soul.
After a long and trying week, I was spending some quiet time alone in my little craft corner working on some homemade cards. I get a lot of thinking done when I am creating and often I review the happenings of the day or week or month or whatever. 🙂
As I said, it had been a difficult week, but I was finding solace in working with inks and paints and paper. Before I knew it, I was singing as I created. I was doing my usual thing, making up words and tunes as bits of thoughts ambled through my mind. When I go on a singing jag, I often end up on a familiar tune.
Last night I ended up singing “Israel, Israel, God is Calling”. The tune is familiar to most Christians as “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. The original music was written by Charles Crozat Converse; the lyrics to “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” were written by Joseph M. Scrivens. In the early Mormon church, other lyrics were written by Richard Smyth and set to Converse’s music. Although the messages in the two sets of lyrics are quite different from each other, I love them both.
I sat at my desk singing away – “Israel, Israel, God is calling, Calling thee from lands of woe…..” and then the second verse, “Israel, Israel, God is speaking. Hear your great Deliverer’s voice ……”….. and then I sort of, kind of forgot the words. I rummaged around in my brain, but could only come up with fragments from the various verses.
Momentarily distracted by something I was inking, I found myself starting the song over. This time however, without thinking, I sang, “Israel, Israel, God is singing….” And then I stopped and sat back in my chair. Those words do not exist in the song. Actually, I have never, ever heard a hymn which talks about God singing.
Angels sing and people sing and King David sang (and danced), but what about God? I tried to envision a picture in my mind of God singing and suddenly there were tears streaming down my face. It made perfect sense to me that God sings. He created heaven and earth and all that is in them. He created those who create and gave them the abilities to glorify Him through their creations. If man sings, then certainly God sings. He would not give mankind the power to do something that he, himself, cannot do.
I wonder what songs he sings? What are the lyrics? What is the music like? When we hear music that truly resonates with us to our very souls and moves us to tears, is it God who is singing to us through mortal man?
Can you hear your Father singing? What does he sound like in your mind?
Happy Easter, one and all. I testify that Jesus Christ lived, died, resurrected and lives with his Father in the heavens above. He is with us every day if we allow it, especially in the rough times during our earthly sojourn. I love Him and am deeply and steadfastly grateful for his immense gifts to mankind.
Addendum 1/4/2017 — A reader, Laura, left a comment today in which she included a verse from Zephaniah 3:17. “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” This verse fills my heart with joy! Thank you, Laura.
Just in case you are interested, here are two versions of Israel, Israel, God is Calling. The first version is from, of course :), the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and their performance is particularly beautiful. I really like the arrangement. The second version is quite different from the first one. It is strong and powerful and even has drums in it. The introduction is spoken by a strong Polynesian voice, but I am not certain which language — Samoan maybe? The speaker then sings the song in English. Both renditions are amazingly stirring and I love them equally.
- Mormon Tabernacle Choir (Israel, Israel, God is Calling in traditional choir format) — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiuuSQPsW_I
- Unknown vocalist and performers — maybe Samoan? (stirring and powerful, accented with Polynesian drums!) — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlNEeC_3Ruk