I have one of my favorite CD’s in the player, and I just realized that I’m thinking the words as the music plays. The CD is Beside Still Waters, vol. 2, by the Don Marsh orchestra. It features panpipes, which are always very relaxing to me. It’s a Brentwood recording. I couldn’t find a copyright date.
Anyway, what has impressed me is how so many of the songs bring people and memories to mind. The very first song, How Great Thou Art, of course is known well by millions of people. I always thinkof George Beverly Shea. Also, I remember a girl named Charlotte, same age as I, who had a lovely soprano voice. One day we were flipping through a songbook together, and began to sing that song as a duet. We were unaware that things had gone quiet in the room as people listened, but that moment started a long run of Charlotte and me singing together in church. Later, a big church Terry and I were a part of used to raise the roof with that song. It brought goose bumps and tears to my eyes. Powerful words, lovely music.
What a Friend We have in Jesus was one of the first songs I learned to play on the piano. Later, I remember a lady singing it as a solo at the Fourth Baptist Church in Minneapolis. This would have been around 1952, I guess. She sang it with such heart and depth that I’ve loved it ever since. I wish I knew her name.
So many others. I’d Rather Have Jesus is another song that makes me think of George Beverly Shea. “I’d rather have jesus than silver or gold, I’d rather be His than have riches untold, I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands, I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand Than to be the king of a vast domain Or be held in sin’s dread sway. I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today.”
Great is Thy Faithfulness always makes me think of my friend Davina, who claimed this song while she fought cancer several years ago. Her testimony always includes the verses this song was written from. Thanks, Davina, for making this song so personal.
“In loving kindness Jesus came, my soul in mercy to reclaim, And from the depths of sin and shame Through grace He lifted me. . ..” He lifted me! This one takes me to George Mensik, whose testimony included the verses Psalm 40:2-3: “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my going. And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praises unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” Mr. Mensik was a Chicago hood in the 1930’s who knew all about the underbelly of society. When he got saved, he became a sort of evangelist and shared his testimony with thousands.
There are many more, and I could go on all day. But I won’t. You can thank me later 🙂 One more, and I’m done. Victory in Jesus. “I heard an old, old story, How a Savior came from glory, How He gave His life on Calvary To save a wretch like me; I heard about His groaning, Of His precious blood’s atoning, Then I repented of my sins And won the victory!”
This one makes me think of my dad. He loved this song, and for many years he always wanted to open the Sunday morning service with it. It is truly a praise song, and you can’t sing it well without being moved by it. “Oh, victory in Jesus! My Savior, forever; He sought me and bought me With His redeeming blood; He loved me ere I knew Him And all my love is due Him. He plunged me to victory Beneath the cleansing flood.”