A Guest Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
This week I am writing not as Chicken Wrangler Sara but as my alter ego – Music Teacher Sara.
I was blessed to have been raised not only in church but in a musical family that actually sang at home. My mother would play the piano, and we sang hymns in harmony. The number of parts varied as each of the kids learned to read music and developed a favorite part.
As we have married and had our own children, the tradition continues when we gather at Nana and Pepa’s house.
Recently, churches have moved from singing hymns to singing praise songs. There are strong feelings about this. I happen to enjoy both.
My previous school sang hymns every morning in chapel. In the last years I was there, I started singing the hymns with my music class the day before we sang them in chapel. This gave the students a chance to at least hear them before the chapel service. Not all of them liked to sing.
One afternoon, just before my last class of the day, I received word that my son was in the hospital 4 hours away. I was devastated.
My husband got the call first and left immediately. He called from the car, and we agreed it was best for me to stay and take care of Miller Farm. I would not have been helpful at the hospital.
I was able to pull myself together before my high school class arrived. The hymn we sang that day was “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.” These are the words.
1 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is your health and salvation!
Come, all who hear; now to his temple draw near,
join me in glad adoration.
2 Praise to the Lord, above all things so wondrously reigning;
sheltering you under his wings, and so gently sustaining!
Have you not seen all that is needful has been
sent by his gracious ordaining?
3 Praise to the Lord, who will prosper your work and defend you;
surely his goodness and mercy shall daily attend you.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
if with his love he befriends you.
4 Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that has life and breath, come now with praises before him.
Let the Amen sound from his people again;
gladly forever adore him.
As I sang Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore Him! I was forced to remember that God was still in control and still worthy of praise. Our son did come home and now works at a machine shop nearby.
This morning I was watching a performance of that hymn at Westminster Abbey.
There was an extra verse before verse 4. I tried to find the words in a hymnal but every hymnal I checked only had the four verses. I listened to it again and wrote down the words.
Praise to the Lord who, when tempests their warfare are waging,
Who when the elements madly around they are raging.
Biddeth them cease
Turneth their fury to peace
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.
This verse seems particularly appropriate as tempests of disease and civil unrest are waging their war. I am comforted once again by the thought that God is still in control.
God still uses music, both hymns and contemporary Christian songs, to bring me comfort. People can argue about what is best. To me all music is a gift from God.