The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease
Soon after accepting the position of pastor at my last church, one of my seniors asked me to consider holding a community hymn sing once a month. Well, I was busy and had a lot on my plate and put her off. A few months later, she asked again, and then again. It took me quite a while to accept the thought of taking on one more commitment.
Finally I gave in and we began a community hymn sing one Sunday evening of each month. That church is now into its fifth year of having these sings. The squeaky wheel does get the grease. I’m glad she kept at me.
I knew I would be heavily involved. I play the piano. I cut my teeth as far as piano playing goes on many of these old Gospel hymns. I actually love getting on the piano and bringing the old hymns of the church to life.
Eventually a drummer came along, then a guitar player, even some singers to help lead – some from our own church and some from other area churches. We usually would spend an evening practicing before the big event on the Sunday night.
On the evening of the sing, someone would share an appropriate poem – sometimes humorous, sometimes serious – but always exactly what we needed. Another person would read a Scripture passage. Once in a while, we would have a special musical number. The vast majority of the time we sang. And how we sang!
Well here I am – interim pastor at the Morrisburg Pentecostal Church. Guess what? We’re having monthly hymn sings. And do we sing! I usually pick out fifteen or sixteen old hymns of the church and most of the time, we get through them all. We do it all in an hour! The church resounds with praises.
The messages of the hymns minister to our hearts about the greatness of our God and about His ability to speak to our hearts and make us more like Him.
Johannes Sebastian Bach wrote, “Where there is devotional music, God is always at hand with His gracious presence.” That is true. God is present in these times.
We have fun. Who wouldn’t have fun singing, “There’s a church in the valley by the wildwood”, or “On the wings of a snow-white dove”, or “Because He Lives”, or any other of the old hymns and gospel songs of the last century?
One of my fun favorite ones from my early years is “This Ole House”. I remember going to the basement where there was an old gramophone. It was not electric and you had to crank it up so it would play a little 45-rpm record. These were leftovers from my grandmother’s furniture that were stored there.
I’m sure my Dad became tired of hearing it as he did woodworking in his shop but he never complained. He knew his girls were having fun singing at the top of their lungs and laughing as they sang.
Surprisingly, not all the people who come to these evenings are seniors. Certainly the majority of them are, but I have discovered that people of all ages like hymns.
After the hour-long sing is over, we share light refreshments together in our basement fellowship room. People stay to chat and just enjoy each other’s company.
Quoting again from Bach, “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul”. How true is that statement!
We find that at the end of the evening, we are tired but we have glorified God and our souls have been refreshed.
I am just beginning to put together the music selection for this month’s sing on Sunday, April 14th, at 6 p.m. Would you care to join in? Now playing, by Stuart Hamblen…
Ain’t a-gonna need this house no longer,
Ain’t a-gonna need this house no more.
Ain’t got time to fix the shingles,
Ain’t got time to fix the floor.
Ain’t got time to oil the hinges
Nor to mend the windowpane.
Ain’t gonna need this house no longer –
I’m a-gettin’ ready to meet the saints.
Rev. Lorna Casselman