Robert called it his 'Green Bible', his hymn book. He knew the tender feelings in our hearts as we sing of spiritual things. My first hymn book was a thick blue Lutheran Hymnal, my favorite hymn as a little girl, the Crusader's Hymn. I loved the thrill in my heart as the chorus floated around me in church:
"Onward, Christian Soldiers!
Marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus
going on before."
Courage filled me and somehow I knew I could do anything with Jesus beside me. And I knew of His gentleness too, for the words of my Grandmother's favorite hymn taught me:
"What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer."
Christian Hymns were my first line of learning spiritual things as a small child. The music entered my heart and planted sweet seeds of the Good News of the Gospel long before I ever had any other formal instruction.
Perhaps that is why Christmas music has always been my favorite. The joyful melodies and tender words meant so much to me when I was young, as my family, who were not religious at the time, gathered and sang those beloved carols to our King. Joy to the World! I felt as close to Heaven as possible when I was singing with my family.
When i was about seven years old, we found a new church to attend and this time, our new friends invited my parents into the fold. My sisters and I sat together with my father, while my mother played the organ for our congregation. I thought this was surely heaven, and my heart rejoiced as I learned new music to gently teach my spirit:
"I am a child of God
and He has sent me here,
has given me an earthly home
with parents kind and dear."
Through the years, the hymns became as sacred to me as scripture. Singing hymns brings me closer to my Savior. In times of trouble, I could always sing a hymn to invite the Comforter and to remind me of eternal truths:
"Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee!"
I can find comfort:
"Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side."
"Though deepening trials throng your way,
Press on! Press on, ye Saints of God!"
No matter my need or desire, singing hymns lifts my soul. I am constantly in search of more hymns, more versions of hymns, to fill my home with music.
One of the most precious memories I have with Robert is the discovery that we shared a favorite children's hymn:
"I wonder when He comes again,
Will herald angels sing?
Will earth be white with drifted snow
Or will the world know spring?"
Sweet is the memory of our grandchildren singing those words at our wedding reception! What greater blessing could they give us? A testimony of our Savior and that because of Him our lives are eternal! That memory is a tender mercy to me in the lonely hours.
These days I find myself leaning on the Savior than ever before. I find great Joy as I daily remember His sacrifice for me, and of my part in His plan. I daily search scripture, and find peace and hope there, but most often I find my mind filled with the words of a beloved hymn:
"I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
From him I’ll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voice is heard: “Ye shall obtain.”
I believe in Christ; so come what may,
With him I’ll stand in that great day
When on this earth he comes again
To rule among the sons of men."
It's true! Robert's 'Green Bible' is full of peace and inspiration.
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