Sunday, August 31, 2008
The Songbook in my Heart
This morning as we were singing Blessed Assurance in worship, I remembered why I did not need to know the page number. I remembered why the words to this song are unnecessary. It is simple. I carry in my heart the words to this song as well as so many others. I surely learned a lot of them by going to church every Sunday (morning and evening) almost all of my life. Even the slowest of learners begins to remember after singing some song a hundred or so times. I guess I cannot remember when I did not know Blessed Assurance, or The Old Rugged Cross, or Amazing Grace, or Love Lifted Me, or The Unclouded Day, or more than just a few of the songs in the old Methodist standby, The Cokesbury Hymnal.
However, the truth is that no matter how many I learned because I sang them at church, a goodly portion of the songbook I carry around in my heart has to do with my Mother. Although she did sing in a church choir some, she did not really think of herself as a singer. But, whenever we started on a trip to visit relatives in another town, or to visit the cemetery, or to buy groceries, my sister and I would invariably be joining her in singing some gospel song as we went. From her I learned a multitude of songs. Whenever I find myself singing a hymn without any need to open the book, it is because of the way she made sure we were in worship and the way she sang with us as we traveled. No need for a radio. We had our own music and even now I carry it with me.
Even when our children may seem to us to be too young to know what is going on, it is likely they are getting something by what I call spiritual osmosis. Even when I was not paying attention, stuff was settling in my heart. I did not know as a child that this songbook was being saved in my heart, but it was. And today, I am deeply grateful that wherever I go, I can launch into one of those old songs of faith and worship God.