Tarry a Little While

I posted about the Danish painter, Carl Holsoe, a while back. Today, I wanted to share the paintings of a Swedish artist whose paintings I find very restful. I don’t know all the artistic terms to use for paintings, I know little about it other than I know what I can connect with when I see it. Like a well-written melody, there is something that draws someone in to a good painting, a human thing. These paintings of Johan Krouthen do that for me. If you click here, you can see more of his paintings which are in the public domain. Here is one of my favorites. It draws me in. When I see the sunlit bench, I think, when the sun moves and the bench has some shade, I’d like to sit there with a kindly friend and drink our coffee and talk about good things.

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He is ‘Lord of the Small’

Praise to the Lord of the small broken things,
who sees the poor sparrow that cannot take wing.
who loves the lame child and the wretch in the street
who comforts their sorrows and washes their feet.

Praise to the Lord of the faint and afraid
who girds them with courage and lends them His aid,
He pours out his spirit on vessels so weak,
that the timid can serve and the silent can speak.

Praise to the Lord of the frail and the ill
who heals their afflictions or carries them till,
they leave this tired frame and to paradise fly.
to never be sick and never to die.

Praise him, O praise Him all ye who live
who’ve been given so much and can so little give
our frail lisping praise God will never despise-
He sees His dear children through mercy-filled eyes.

Text: Johanna Anderson

Music: Dan Forrest

Under an Autumn Sky

leavesIn the grocery store parking lot where I was loading things into my cart I heard a voice behind me and realized I was being spoken to. A man in a wheel chair was there.

“Isn’t it a beautiful day?” he asked. He had strong muscles from wheeling his chair up the long hill to the store.

“It’s absolutely gorgeous,” I agreed. “I wish I had a way to store these days to get us through the long winter.”

He nodded, and we stood there just a few moments enjoying the fresh, cool breeze and the sun on our faces. We were two perfect strangers connecting as fellow humans, our souls drinking in the great beauty of the afternoon.

All the best rhapsodic prose about the Fall of the year has already been written many times over. But I was struck again today by the leaves changing color. Emmy and I walked along for our 3 mile walk, taking it all in.

There is something about being outside that makes Emmy think of God.

“He’s up there in the clouds,” she said solemnly as she walked along pushing her doll in her stroller.

“Who is?”

“God. Pastor told us about that in chapel,” she said firmly.

“God loves me, and I love Him,” she added. “He’s watching over me.”

We stopped to admire a maple leaf that Emmy observed was pink, not red. Bees buzzed over some droopy black-eyed susans at the corner where we turn. A neighbor waved cheerily at us as we made our way back home up the long hill.

“It’s such a lovely day, isn’t it?” Em sighed blissfully.

Beauty and truth and faith under a deep blue sky.

(Photo credit to my friend Francis MacDonald. This is a photo of his native Nova Scotia in autumn.)

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An Evening Gift

Our son, Will, is busy at college, but this evening he sent this beautiful and ancient hymn. It came for me at exactly the moment that God wanted it to. Will attached a version of this hymn with a French choir singing along with organ. The setting is by the compose,r Vierne. The organ music is powerful, contrasting with the voices of the choir. The cry of the supplicant, and the answering, response of the Spirit of our all powerful God. I hope this blesses you as it did me tonight. The words echo the cry of our hearts: Come, Holy Spirit. Without you, we can do nothing.

 

COME, HOLY GHOST
send down those beams,
which sweetly flow in silent streams
from Thy bright throne above.

O come, Thou Father of the poor;
O come, Thou source of all our store,
come, fill our hearts with love.

O Thou, of comforters the best,
O Thou, the soul’s delightful guest,
the pilgrim’s sweet relief.

Rest art Thou in our toil, most sweet
refreshment in the noonday heat;
and solace in our grief.

O blessed Light of life Thou art;
fill with Thy light the inmost heart
of those who hope in Thee.

Without Thy Godhead nothing can,
have any price or worth in man,
nothing can harmless be.

Lord, wash our sinful stains away,
refresh from heaven our barren clay,
our wounds and bruises heal.

To Thy sweet yoke our stiff necks bow,
warm with Thy fire our hearts of snow,
our wandering feet recall.

Grant to Thy faithful, dearest Lord,
whose only hope is Thy sure word,
the sevenfold gifts of grace.

Grant us in life Thy grace that we,
in peace may die and ever be,
in joy before Thy face.
Amen. Alleluia!

 

Songs of Praises Lift Our Hearts

sunriseScripture records how David the shepherd boy played his harp and drove out the evil spirit of King Saul. What an incredible thing music is and what it can accomplish, both good or evil.

It can fuel hatred and alienation and violence, or it can sooth someone’s mind, lift their spirits, and as believers in Jesus Christ, it can help us to forget ourselves and move us to worship God.

The poet William Cowper suffered from severe, terrible bouts of depression at times in his life. Yet in 1779, he wrote these words:

Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.

In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.

It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too;
Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.

Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.

Although he had a physical body and mind that gave him much torment in his life, he recognized the lifting power of singing of God’s mercies and salvation in Jesus Christ.

HPIM1336.JPGWhile looking for a hymn on YouTube this morning, I experienced the same encouragement. Having put to memory a number of hymns years ago, I enjoy (privately) singing along with them when I get to hear them. One hymn led to another and another. Both the Scriptural texts of these hymns and the music supporting the texts can lift you out of yourself and into heavenly places. This hymn here, Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah, really blessed me today. That kind of meaty, muscular, vital hymn singing is often missing in churches today, but thankfully, we can still hear it elsewhere. Also, reading the words of Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor, I was reminded of God’s great redemptive plan, and the offering on Calvary, once for all, for our sin. I wonder today if many of our young people even recognize the Old Testament references to Christ in rich hymns like this. Here are the words to this great Communion hymn.

Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendor,
first-begotten from the dead.
Thou alone, our strong defender,
liftest up thy people’s head.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Jesus, true and living bread!

Here our humblest homage pay we,
here in loving reverence bow;
here for faith’s discernment pray we,
lest we fail to know thee now.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou art here, we ask not how.

Though the lowliest form doth veil thee
as of old in Bethlehem,
here as there thine angels hail thee,
branch and flower of Jesse’s stem.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
We in worship join with them.

Paschal Lamb, thine offering, finished
once for all when thou was slain,
in its fullness undiminished
shall for evermore remain.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Cleansing souls from every stain.

Life-imparting heavenly Manna,
stricken Rock with streaming side,
heaven and earth with loud hosanna
worship thee, the Lamb who died.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Risen, ascended, glorified!

~  George Hugh Bourne, 1874

Our little daughter, Emmy, folded her hands over breakfast this morning and prayed, “O Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. For his steadfast love endures forever!” We can sing of the mercies of the Lord forever, and as we do, we can often see our gloom fall away in the light of our Savior’s face.

Never Miss a Sunrise

Emily came running into my bedroom one morning yelling, “Mama, quick, come look!” She was so intense she scared me. I thought something was wrong outside.  She lifted my window shade and pointed. “Look at that!”

The rising sun had turned the eastern sky the most unbelievable color of peach against the faint blue. “Isn’t it GORGEOUS?” she cried.

I would have missed it entirely. How many times has that child pulled me over to the window to see the moon shining down on us in all its different phases, something I would have never noticed either. Thank God above for children who never miss a sunrise or a sunset and whose sense of wonder is still intact.

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone. ~ George Eliot

 

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Last of the Summer Beauty

My friend Kim lives in Ottawa, Canada. She is wonderful with her garden. This photo is of her last rose of summer, and I wanted to share it in all its beauty. (This pink is my favorite color ever.)

She wrote:

It is a David Austin rose called ‘Heritage.’ I planted it in honor of my grandma, whose birthday was the first day of summer, and I always gave her a bouquet of roses on her birthday from my mom’s gardens. This rose is absolutely gorgeous, it opens up as a fragile-looking cup of shells…If it’s hardy here, you can grow it in Wisconsin, so see if you can find the plant someday! It is the perfect pale, peachy pink. I always think of the poem at this time of year. Also, that first stanza always makes me think of elderly women.

 

‘Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.

—Thomas Moore

(Full poem here.)

 

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