Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dad's Song

Planning for our August 26th worship service (theme: Growing Older) made me start thinking of older hymns and memories of songs that older Christians love to sing.

One of my dad's all-time favorite songs is "It Is Well With My Soul." Dad would get up to lead it, announce the number, pinch his pointer finger and thumb together (other three fingers extended), smile across the crowd, and start it.

At this point, as a teenager, I would shrink down about three inches into my seat and hold my songbook in front of my face. You see, Dad would get to the second and third verses and be practically yelling the words as he waved his arms (and most of his body) in gigantic circles. The other kids would smile as they glanced at my blushing face, but were mostly glued to the action up front. Later in life, I would discover why...

My parents came to visit me when I was the youth minister in Ponca City, OK. One particular Sunday night, we had a 5th Sunday singing, where the podium was open for any man who wanted to lead a song or two. Of course, my dad could not let such an invitation go unanswered, so as he strode up to the front, I knew what was coming.

"Turn to number four-hundred and ninety. Four. Nine. Zero."

The smile came and the hand went up, but this time I didn't bury my face in my songbook. I watched my father lead a song that was dear to his heart.

As he came to the second verse, he sang as LOUD as possible, waving his arms back and forth to emphasize the words. And during that moment, I heard these words that I had heard all my life, but never really noticed...

My sin, o the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross
And I bear it no more
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, o my soul!

As Dad yelled/sang these words, my voice cracked and I put my hands over my face to hide the tears. Now that life wasn't about me and my embarassment, I understood my dad a little better...especially why he liked that song so much.

What about you? Anyone have funny or fond memories of an older Christian and an old song that they LOVED to sing?


carrie said...

I have to say that I love the same song as your dad, but for a different reason. That was my grandmother's favorite song. She had asked my mom and her siblings to sing that song at her funeral. I have felt sonnected to that song for years before that, but I cannot sing it to this day without crying! My mom and aunts and uncle sang that song without a single tear. The strength that God provided them was unreal. They really wanted to be able to do it because it was their mother's wish. That 2nd verse is so powerful! I think if we truly got the message of it and how it affects our life, we would all be singing it just like your dad!

One Observationist said...

One of my dad's favorite songs is "O Come Angel Band." When I was growing up we also had a singing during the 5th Sundays and without fail dad would lead this song. He didn't get as animated as your dad, but I could tell he sang it from his heart.

It was years before I found out that this was one of his favorites and I never have asked him why. Thanks for the post Franklin. I'm going to call him right now and asking him why.

Danny Kaye said...

Talk about a coincidence! Just yesterday I was on another blog talking about the same song...and the same lines of that song!

Only I was talking about the first time I heard that stanza and started getting a little uncomfortable. You see, because it was the first time I had heard the song I had no idea where the lyrics were going. All I heard was:

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought

Wha??!! The glorious thought of my SIN?!!!

But then came:

My sin, not in part but the whole

HOLD ON A MINUTE!!! I can't sing this song!!! There is nothing glorious about the WHOLE OF MY SIN!!!

But I breathed easier when the lyrics corrected my thinking with:

Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more

Aaahhhhh...that's better! What a great song. And it has been a favorite ever since.

Great post bro.

Shane Coffman said...

I always want to stop and applaud God at the end of that 2nd verse.

I tried to lead it that way one time, but it fell flat. I was the only one clapping, even though I told them that we were going to stop and thank God right there. I guess that group didn't feel the connection to those words quite like I did.