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.


dawnp said...

Sometimes when praying is so hard for me, the only thing I can do is sing. Songs like Blessed Assrurance can say what my heart feels,when words are inadequate and fail me a song will always put my mind at ease and reminds me of God's everlasting love. Singing brings me to a place where I can worship Him with complete surrender of all the burdens that can weigh so heavily on my mind. I'm glad we have songs as one way we can praise God.

gracegirl said...

Many adults my age cut their teeth on Elvis. My markings are on The Cokesbury Hymnal. Upon reading your blog, I got out my old copy and lovingly caressed the fragile pages as it's several decades older than I. While doing so, I located some of my favorites, hummed a few tunes and sang a few bars. They are indeed richly implanted. I might even go as far to say they are my soul songs. Your entry has inspired me to keep it out for awhile and use it in my devotional time.