Songs of Thankfulness

Cynthia L. Eppley 12/02/2020

We have just celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, at least if you are Stateside. Although it was different this year, most people still managed to make a turkey and the fixings….or join with others who were celebrating. Thanksgiving Traditions.

What has struck me with this particular Thanksgiving is that we do have so much for which to give thanks.
Many are in dire straits, and many are in grief. This pandemic drags on and can drag us down. On Social Media, we viewed smiling families whether a crowd or a simple two or three. Despite the implications of all that 2020 has brought, we seem able to set those things aside and give thanks to the Lord.

“Give Thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.” Ps 107:1

Hymns and Home

Liturgical Seasons in the church are marked with ceremony, symbols and songs.
It is fitting then, that Thanksgiving has its own set of music that draws us to give thanks. One of the features of the church is to sing together. Newer praise songs abound.

“Give thanks with a grateful heart,
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks, because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.”

And the old, traditional hymns give us a rich heritage of theology, ability to be sung, and learning how to “read” 4 part harmony as well as sing it and harmonize.
Being raised in a church with a magnificent pipe organ gave me an appreciation for sacred music that I cherish. I can still sing most hymns, all 4 verses. First Presbyterian Church of Salem, NJ has a rich heritage of excellency in music. I give credit to our choir director, Bea Howland, and singing in children’s choir and festivals. Given the first few words, I’m off and running with music. It is very much reflected here:

“Church is not something you go to. It’s a family you belong to.”  (@imsoblesseddaily)

So as we sing:

“We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing He chastens and hastens his will to make known The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing Sing praises to his name, he forgets not his own.”

We remember His blessings, His faithfulness to all generations.

“Come, ye thankful people come; Raise the song of harvest home. All is safely gather in Ere the winter storms begin. God, our Maker, doth provide For our wants to be supplied. Come to God’s own temple, come; Raise the song of harvest home.”

We remember His blessings, His faithfulness to all generations.

Singing

My friend, Craig Denison is Associate Professor of Music Education and Choral Music at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His bio reads: “I like music. I like teaching.”
He posted this on Social Media:

“I didn’t know how much I missed hearty congregational singing until I heard this today.” Craig Denison (Referencing The Salisbury Advent Service)

His friends added to his sentiment:
“Entering the Advent/Christmas season with no singing is hitting me hard.” “The biggest loss in our Covid lives, in my opinion.”
“I can’t listen to any ensemble singing yet…my wounded heart can’t take it!”

It is difficult to sing when we feel that our efforts are truncated, held back, repressed.

Worship

Psalm 100:2
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs

“Now thank we all our God With hearts and hands and voices, Who wondrous things hath done, In whom his earth rejoices; Who, from our mothers’ arms, Hath blessed us on our way With countless gifts of love And still is ours today.”

Come ye Thankful People, Come!

And so for now we give thanks, with hearts and hands and voices.
Our church, Oreland Evangelical Presbyterian Church has been called “A Singing Church.” And we are.
We sing with enthusiasm and harmony and grateful hearts.
But for now, we have muffled voices as we sing with masks.
I am aware of the mask moving in and out as I take a full breath of praise. Our voices may not rise in full volume and harmony.

Face to Face

1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

The day will come when our masks will be removed.
We lift our hearts up as we await the day when we can see one another face to face. We will reflect His glory to one another.

“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.” Ex 34:29

Until then, we sing with full hearts, full hands, and full voices.
We look forward to the time when we can be fully known, as he fully knows us.

Published by Counseling from a Christian View

Counselor, Teacher, Wife, Mother and Grandmother. It is a privilege to serve God. All my roles have taught me more about God's grace and mercy. And all of life is counseling.

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