Musical Moments by Amy
October 21st - Oh, I Want to Know You More
My 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan still runs on gasoline. It runs especially well when there is fuel in the tank, so I headed out to my favourite gas bar south of Brantford to fill up. This station has recently added a number of gas pumps so there is rarely a line-up. I am of the mindset that if I pull up to the front pump and go just a bit past the lip of the pavement, then I will be able to get more gas for my money, because the tank is on a slant. So, that is what I did.
The service attendant came out of the kiosk and went to the truck behind me. He started pumping gas in that tank and then disappeared. I was not in a rush and presumed the young man had to look after someone else first. However, a couple of minutes went by and then there was a voice, Miss? Have you been started yet? I thanked him and said, No, I have not. Could you please fill the tank with regular gas?
And then I started to laugh. Have you been started yet? Here I am. At a gas station. There is no hose going from their gas pump to my fuel tank. Had I already received gas, I would have started the engine and been on my way. Read more
October 16th - Music for Anniversary Sunday
October usually brings change. Change of leaves from green to golden yellow and rusty red. Change from shorts to sweaters. Change from sunny days to darker nights. October reminds us that there is a definite seasonal change. I think of our church family in October.
You see, June Adlam invited my dad to sing for the Anniversary service almost 20 years ago now. What changes have we seen in those 20 years!? New ministers; new organists/pianists; new members; births; deaths. What has remained constant?
Well, the heritage of our church has certainly been steadfast in the Village of Mt. Pleasant. Our Scottish ancestors will be remembered as the Chancel Committee decorates the sanctuary with the multitude of tartans. (With the pandemic, we will miss the scones, homemade jams and jellies usually served after.) Music has filled the sanctuary for years performed by many people, yourselves reading included. We will hear The Tartans and Bless This House this weekend. The Word preached from the platform has been God's Word. God's Word, laid upon the hearts of dozens of His ministers including Rev. Dean, will continue this tradition this weekend. Read more
July 31st - Standing on the Promises
Standing on the Promises is an old familiar hymn, sung by many people over the years. It was written in 1886 by Russell Carter who was a star athlete, excellent student, teacher, coach, minister, physician, musician, and songwriter. Wow! What responsibilities!! But that was not all. When he was 30 years old his heart began to fail him, and death was almost imminent. Although he had been a Christian most of his life, he realized that only God could provide healing, both physical and spiritual. After praying for his own complete submission to God, vowing to live a life of service, God began to heal Carter. He began to realize the promises in the word of God were not just for Bible times; they were for him in his own life. He lived another 49 years!
Now, I am praying that we do not have COVID-19 until 2059, but we will need to stand on the very same promises from God. In my devotions, I read that biblical-time soldiers in battle had their sandals equipped with special spikes in them to help them stand more steadily. We need to have our feet firmly planted in the promises from the Word of God. As we fight depression or isolation, or long checkout line annoyances, let the words of this song come back and bring you peace. Stand firm, keep loving, stay safe.
July 24th - A Harmonica Medley
I lived in Brantford pretty much all of my life. I knew where Mt. Pleasant was - right at the end of Mt. Pleasant Street coming from Brantford. I did not know too much about the history of the village, but always liked the drive into the countryside. Small communities have always intrigued me with the friendliness, quick smiles and hand waves as you drive by. June 2009 added a new dimension to my spiritual journey when I was invited to become the Music Director for Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian Church, beginning July 26. Upon my arrival to the church in this new capacity, I met wonderful people, who always greeted me with a genuine smile, a firm handshake and eventually, a sincere hug.
One such couple sat in the back pew of the sanctuary, and I grew to know Bert and Janet Dungavell for their love, encouragement, and appreciation of my musical efforts. Read more
July 15th - Another Double-Bill
Date: Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Weather: Sunny, hot and becoming humid. Equipment on hand: Desktop computer, Bible, devotional book and a bottle of water. Ah! This is the start of my day. I clicked on my computer and I logged in. I had several emails but there were 3 emails and 1 text message from church and choir friends, all checking in. I have not seen some of these folks for 4 whole months, due to Covid-19, but the notes brought tears to my eyes. And of course, songs to my mind.
In the early 1970s Lean on Me writer Bill Withers penned the words, So just call me brother, when you need a hand. We all need somebody to lean on. How wonderful to know that God has placed people in our lives that we can see, call, write and with whom we can be in contact . Read more
July 7th- A Double-Bill
As I mentioned in my earlier Moment this week, this has been a time of change, differences, frustration, trial, and error. I have been working from home since mid-March. In fact, as I sit at my computer to compose this anecdote, I have been unable to remotely log in to my work computer. Annoying. Disruptive. Interrupting my schedule. However, this is not the first time that this has happened in the past few weeks and it seems to be quite arbitrary. It was fine yesterday, but not today. No rhyme or reason.
And then? Music hit me. In fact, two pieces immediately popped into my head. Both are songs that I have heard sung by my dad as I was growing up, but little did I realize how much I needed to hear them today. Read more
July 6th - God is Good (All the Time)
It takes about 13 weeks for a new habit to form, whether it be good or bad. We are now in the 16th week of COVID-19 and we as a society are adjusting to the use of masks, gloves and social distancing. Perhaps we are even having groceries and deliveries purchased online for curbside pick-up or porch deliveries. As a society, we have adjusted. Have we liked all the changes? Probably not, but we are managing.
Now that Phase 2 is melding into Phase 3 of Ontario re-opening we are cautiously optimistic that we are flattening the curve. What I have realized, though, is that in the unsteadiness and unsurety of the past few months, God is good. He has not changed. He has remained steady throughout the whole ordeal. COVID-19 did not surprise Him. Let us relish in the fact that God is good - all the time. All the time - think about that - all the time - God is good. Praise Him! Stay safe.
June 26th - O Canada
July 1, 1867. Not too many of us were around to mark the occasion of our country becoming the Dominion of Canada. (As a child, my dad used to work for the Dominion Stores, so I always thought there was a double-meaning to the holiday. Anyway, I digress.)
In 1983, Dominion Day became Canada Day, so I would like to focus on our national anthem for this musical moment.
All the lyrics to our national anthem are rarely sung, but they describe the vastness of our prairies; the pines and maples; the rearing of men and women to protect our land. But the fourth verse is so powerful: Ruler Supreme, Who hearest humble prayer; Hold our Dominion in thy loving care. Help us to find, O God, in thee A lasting, rich reward. As waiting for the better day, We ever stand on guard. Read more
June 21st - My Fathers Eyes
As this is the third Sunday of the month, our congregation recognizes New Life Sunday where we collectively remember the Ten Commandments that were given to the children of Israel thousands of years ago. The fifth commandment is: Honour your father and your mother.
Today, in many parts of the world, Fathers Day is being celebrated. We should always be aware of the influences of our parents, but how much more, then, should we try to emulate God, our Heavenly Father? He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He provides for our every need. When we ask anything of Him, in faith and do not doubt, He will answer according to His perfect will. And best of all, He loves us, no matter how broken and sinful we are. In fact, He loves us in spite of our sin.
Singer-songwriter Amy Grant released a song in the late 1970s, My Fathers Eyes. As I think about my own dad, I know I have inherited many gifts, physical qualities and character traits from him (not his eye colour, though). But, as the song states, let us have eyes that find the good in things when good cannot be found. Eyes that find the source of help when help cannot be found, Eyes full of compassion that see and feel every pain. Oh, may it be said of each of us that we are striving to be like God our Heavenly Father. Happy Fathers Day to all, past and present.
June 12th - The Climb
In our congregation I am aware of four girls who are about to finish elementary school. Amelia, Coral, Izzy and Vanessa, you have made it! You are the class who has lived through smartphones, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Netflix, Instagram and you might even remember the television show Hannah Montana starring Miley Cyrus.
Now, I do not appreciate all the stories I hear about Miley or even all her songs, but this week, I dedicate The Climb to our graduating class. If you know the piece, I hope you will understand why I chose this for you. In September 2020 you will start at the bottom of a new mountain. It may look scary, but you have inner strength, determination, peace, and God to get you to the peak. Believe Him when He encourages you to seek, ask, find (Matthew 7:7-8). Read more
June 5th - Give Them All to Jesus
When we pray, do we have a grocery list for God as if all He does is wait in Heaven to grant us our wishes? I recently read the following exchange and have received permission to use it:
Kendra: G, please put your backpack stuff away.
G: Well, I have to say, I really don't want to.
Kendra: Well, I don't really want to either. I spent all day cleaning up stuff.
G: Well, Mom, that's kind of your job; you work for me.
This little man thinks he has his household all figured out. And cute as he is, what a reminder for us. God has created us for His purposes and glory. When we give Him our praise, prayers, and problems, He has promised to answer those petitions according to His good will. So, let's unpack our backpacks of worry and anxiety. God will turn those anxious moments into joy. That's His job!
May 30th - In the Garden
Last week, I mentioned that it felt like we had begun to experience spring. Well, this week's weather has been a hint of summer. How wonderful it has been to be in the garden, cutting grass, planting flowers, or just observing the beauty around us.
COVID-19 has changed our regular routines, but let us not be discouraged. As Alan Jackson sings In the Garden, we share joy with Jesus as we spend time with Him. That time is precious, particularly in these days of change, chaos and challenges. As you enjoy the variety of colours -greens, reds, yellows, pinks, purples- and see the birds, butterflies and bustling squirrels, walk and talk with God; meditate in prayer and enjoy some quiet time with God in the garden.
May 21st - What a Wonderful World
For those of you who joined us via YouTube last week for our weekly service, one of the hymns was All Things Bright and Beautiful. When you look at the poetry, everything that has been made has been made by God. After creating flowers, birds, mountains, rivers, the seasons, He gave us eyes to see His handiwork. God gave us lips to tell about His awesomeness.
Well, as we are finishing week 9 of COVID-19, social distancing, self-isolation and school closures have become new ways of life. However, we can sense and feel that spring is returning. Finally something that seems familiar! May we be blessed as we reflect on all things bright and beautiful and know that the One Who created them is still great; cares about us; provides for us and still loves us. Oh, what a wonderful world. Oh, yeah.
The last Monday prior to the 25th of May is an annual holiday and Canada has observed this day since 1845 to honour the birthday of Queen Victoria.
The Queen herself was a musician. One of the many endearing traits that she and Prince Albert shared was a love of music. Both were pianists and singers, and it is said that the day after Victoria proposed to Albert, he serenaded her with his own compositions, and she sang back. Read more
May 7th - Fill My Cup, Lord
A story was told of a man carrying a cup of coffee. As he walked along, someone accidentally collided with him and the coffee was spilled making a colossal mess. When asked why he spilled his coffee his initial reaction was to blame the person who bumped into him. Instead, he said that it was his fault that his coffee was spilled. Read more
April 30th - Amazing Grace: Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough
This musical moment highlights a simple fact. While we were engrossed in COVID-19 the world continued to turn on its axis. There are good stories of paying it forward mixed in with the sadness of disappointment, intolerance and disillusionment. Nova Scotia has been hit hard first with the shooting incident almost two weeks ago and then with the funerals held last week and the beginning of this. Now, our neighbours to the east have been sent another blow. Read more
April 24th - Hang On, Little Tomato
Before our Saviour was crucified, He spent some quality time with His followers. Jesus left this message and His beloved disciple, John, recorded these words in Chapter 15 of his gospel:
I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. Read more
April 16th - Brighten the Corner Where You Are
In 1872 a baby was born, Ina Mae Duley Ogdon and 20 years later she wrote her first hymn, Open Wide the Windows. Years later, in 1912, Brighten the Corner Where You Are was penned. Not much background information was given as to the reasoning for this hymn. Perhaps it was the catastrophe of the sinking of the Titanic. Perhaps the tornado outbreaks in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas that killed many people and destroyed lands and homes. Read more
Easter Sunday - Hallelujah Chorus
What is a Christmas or Easter without a rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah. This is one of my favourites with the late Anthony Burger. Not only can we celebrate Christ's resurrection this weekend, but He reigns forever and ever. Blessings to our congregation and all who may share in these musical moments of Easter this weekend.
April 9th - See What a Morning
Week 4 of Covid-19. Hmm. What kind of a week has it been for you? I feel like I'm on an emotional roller coaster. I prepare my work-to-do-list the evening before, and then comes the morning. Computer glitches; electronic files are not where I expect them to be; audio systems don't work so I can't answer calls. So, then I think I'll just run out to the store and get the pet's food. Oh, but I didn't call ahead, so now I have to place the order online for curbside pick up. And let's not even talk about getting the few groceries I need. Read more
April 1st - Til the Storm Passes By
Verse 1 of 'Til the Storm Passes By speaks of the crashing of thunder and howling storms. Weather and physical events.
In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face
March 26th One Pair of Hands
I'm now solely working from home; there's not going to be any reason to move into our new offices in the fall as my division is now mostly telecommuting or at least working remotely.
This week has not been without its stresses, challenges and moments of frustration and then I remember we are in the season of Lent. Read more
March 15th He Will Carry You Through
As we are in the midst of this world-wide pandemic, we are struggling to find peace, to find answers, to get home from international travel, to work, to go to school. I just came home from an appointment and the staff is going to be laid off indefinitely. Read more