Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Lord Has Promised Good to Me...

Last night I had the privilege of being in church. It doesn't always feel like a privilege. Sometimes it feels more like sheer habit. Sometimes I go because momma raised me right and it's what I'm supposed to do every weekend. Sometimes it's obligation, because I'm manning a kiosk, or handing out a flyer, or serving in the nursery or making coffee or checking kids into their classes. Sometimes it's my social fix, I go to visit with friends I know will be there too. Sometimes I go but I'm not really there because I wish I was somewhere else.

And sometimes, now and then, I go and I'm privileged to be there, joining in worship with others there for a myriad of reasons themselves. But when you put us all together something wonderful happens and I find myself in His presence, in a state of mind where I notice the intricacies of people. The intricacies He sees. The one who has hurt showing all over his face, the family who is standing together with miles of distance between them. The woman who attends alone, week after week, comes in at the last minute, sits in the same place every week, and once service ends she leaves as quickly as possible, before anyone can look into her eyes and see what's not there.

Sometimes I notice that we've been standing, singing, for a long time - long enough the older man in the back row had to sit down. His legs couldn't keep up, but his cane and feet are still tapping time.

Sometimes a baby, who wasn't dropped off in the nursery, will begin to cry, and I know from the sound it's a brand new one, and that cry fills the sanctuary, as it should. A robust reminder God hasn't given up on us yet. He's still in the business of making replacements! The parents are probably uncomfortable it's their baby wailing, unaware the sound blesses the rest of us so that we don't need any other music.

Sometimes I go, and worship begins and I realize the lyrics of this song will be hard for the woman who lost her husband a few weeks ago, or the parents who just sent their son overseas to serve, not sure he's going to come back. Or the man who sits up front on the left and lost his job last month, and is yet to find one. Faith in the raw.

And I'm built up, standing there singing that particular song, because I know if they can praise God in the midst of whatever they're going through, then I probably can too. My 'troubles' are small and fleeting. Every single song lyric was chosen just for me too. For whatever's on my mind or heart or conscience.

Like this one, we sang last night:

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

My chains are gone, I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

My chains are gone, I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God who called me here below
Will be forever mine, will be forever mine
You are forever mine

I left last night, blessed to have been there, for many reasons. And the line that will stick with me this week, til I go again:

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

Amen to that.


Jill said...

We sent our 12 year old to Boy Scout Camp today. Last year they had a tornado at camp and it killed 4 boys.
We sang Blessed Be The Name today in church and while I lovet that song, I also prayed that the Lord would not require me to bless his name this week if he chooses to "give and take away".

SentimentsbyDenise said...

Yes, Amen to that!
Great post, Bev.

Gretchen said...

Lord, keep Jill's son safe, I pray. In Your sweet Name, Amen.

Great post. All that church is meant to be--collecting all of us good, bad, and ugly, and redeeming every one...good, good stuff.

Deidre said...

I LOVE that song, Bev and have always focused on the 'my chains are gone' line. 'The Lord has promised good to me' resonates with me today...thank you

I asked God months ago to help me slow down and see things .. love things like he does. He opens your eyes if you ask Him to. I love how your post tells of all the things others may look over. The body of Christ is precious .. and rejoicing ... and hurting ... and worshipping. It takes a special person to notice :)

Becky said...

That is my current song of choice right now. I could play it, and sometimes do, over and over and over again.

kelrydel said...

We sang Amazing Grace in church just this morning and as the tears streamed down my face, I noticed how many others were doing the same....whether happy or sad, in mouring or rejoicing, the words feel like a hug from the Almighty.
Have a blessed week Bev!

Diane@Diane's Place said...

I love that version of Amazing Grace even more than the original, I think.

Happy Birthday, sweet Lady Bev! Hope it's a great day for you and you're treated like a queen by Sir Don and the rest of your family.



Kelly said...

Love, love, this song- it always makes me cry in gratitude.

A little birdy shared the news about today, so "Happy Birthday"! Hope it is a day filled with joy and sweetness- you deserve it:-)


Judy said...

Happy Birthday, Bev. Hope it's a good one. That's one of my favorite songs, too. We sang it just last weekend in church. I love the my chains are gone, I've been set free part.

Lynne said...

Happy birthday, Bev. Hope you have an absolutely wonderful day!

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

I love when I am really "present" in the worship service -- not just body, but heart and soul too!

Happy Birthday! Hope your day has been wonderful!

Ann said...

Barb said I should tell you happy birthday, so "Happy Birthday"!! Hope your day is great!!

Terri in AZ said...

Birthday Blessings from Arizona!

Donnetta said...

Wishing you a very Happy Birthday!!

Beautiful Mommy Princess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beautiful Mommy Princess said...

"The earth shall soon dissolve like snow"

Not to be contrary but where does this line come from and what does it mean? Where does the Bible say it the earth will soon dissolve like snow? This has bothered me about this song since the first time I heard it. Thanks for any light you can shed on this :).

Barb said...

This is beautifully and honestly written and there are so many things I love about it, I don't know where to begin.

Your description of the lone woman who always shows up but leaves as quickly as she can, with her empty eyes, made me sad.

To Beautiful Mommy Princess, perhaps the line "the earth shall soon dissolve like snow," which is the first line of the sixth stanza of the original song, is simply what it appears to be - simple poetry on the part of John Newton, the man who wrote this beautiful song. When I read the lyrics, I don't get the impression he meant for anyone to think that line is from the Bible. When I read that stanza, I get the impression he's referring to when he leaves this earth and goes to heaven. Just my take on it.

Susanne said...

Wishing you a very Happy Birthday, Bev! May you have a lovely day!

Linda said...

A special somebody told us it's your birthday. Happy Birthday Bev!!

Cheryl said...

Happy Birthday Bev! Hope you have a wonderful day!

Beautiful Mommy Princess said...

To Barb,

Thanks for your insight. My hymnal does not have that verse in it. I appreciate your thoughtful explanation of the meaning. Thank you - now I will go back and re-listen to the song.

secondofwett said...

Well, your birthday's almost over so I hope it was a good one! Happy birthday!

Linds said...

Happy Birthday, Bev! I am a little late, but the wishes for a wonderful new year are just as warm.

Melissa said...

Rumor has it that someone over here has a birthday today!! Hope you have a wonderful day with many, many and many more to come!
Best wishes,
Melissa K

gail@more than a song said...

Hope you had a good birthday! Barb posted about it.
I love the Tomlin version of Amazing Grace, one of my favorites.

Robin in New Jersey said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Bev!

Robin said...

So beautiful Bev - your phrase "faith in the raw" strikes a chord with me - that is where I am right now. I will be thinking about those three words for the rest of the day and maybe longer. You are so amazing and gifted with words.

Jen said...

I'm hear catching up. First off Happy Birthday...and Congrats to Dan and his wife....super news...loved the picture...and I hope they get the tax break that would be great....I loved this post and I heart Amazing Grace....great song.I hope life is treating you well...the cake looked awesome as well...I only have a yellow cake mix right now...maybe I should make Ooey Gooey Butter cake....yum! Have a great week.