As usual, things slow down after Easter, the height of the year for church activities.
Special activities and programs aside, simply going to church on Sunday or Bible study midweek can be just as special. I know, I’m really missing it right now, having been hit by a bout of arthritis that makes it very difficult to even walk — not fun.
Many of you have been telling me that you particularly enjoy the stories behind our hymns, and I find it fascinating to go through my book, learning about them. Today’s is another of my personal favorites.
“Oh, Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder ...” The words and melody of “How Great Thou Art” always inspire me. I want to sing it out as loud as I can when I hear it. (Interesting for me was to note its Swedish origins — my maternal grandfather came from Sweden.)
The writer, Carl Boberg, was a young Swedish minister. The song, just a poem when first published around 1885, seemed forgotten for a time.
But a few years later, he was surprised to hear it being sung to the tune of an old Swedish melody.
As more time passed, Dr. J. Edwin Orr heard it being sung in Assam, in India — and brought it to America. It was introduced here by George Beverly Shea, who was part of Billy Graham’s evangelistic team. Perhaps you remember the man with the beautiful deep, deep voice who sang at those events. It was at one of those ’50s crusades many years ago in Syracuse, N.Y., that I became a Christian.
Just a few things this week.
• Sunday there will be a barbecue following the morning service at Redwoods Family Worship Center. It is free, and all are welcome. Why not bring a friend for the inspiring 10:30 a.m. service and stay for the meal?
• On Saturday, April 27, there will be a rally at the Church of Christ Church on 9th and E. It will last from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will be a great day filled with worship and song. There will be preaching by three ministers.
Lunch will be provided, and everyone is welcome. Organizers will, of course, need to know how many plan to come for menu planning, so they request you RSVP by April 20 to the church office, 464-6313, or Phil Hilger, 464-1181, so they know how much food to prepare.
• April 28 at 6 p.m. will be variety night at New Life Community church at 2nd and D. Come and share a song or a reading or a good story — or just sit and enjoy what others do. Vickey Stamps is in charge, so let her know if you want to participate.
Movie nights and game nights are enjoyed at some of our churches on a monthly basis or close to it. Be sure to let me know your schedule so it can be included.