Remembering Old Songs
Isn’t amazing the way songs get planted in your brain and can come back when you least expect them?
I have a friend who is a walking compendium of rock music from the ‘60’s-‘70’s. Mention a musician or a song and he will recite the words back to you with amazing perfection.
Songs – the kind that are really worth singing – are like that. Once they get imbedded in your brain, you never know when you might suddenly remember them.
Watching the sun rise over the lake the other morning, the words (at least most of them) of a hymn I had memorized as a requirement for a class on worship in seminary came rolling back into my mind. It was written by Thomas Ken (1637 – 1711) to help the boys in his British boarding school get started on the day. I can’t imagine that they were all that enthusiastic about it!
Awake, my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,
To pay thy morning sacrifice.
Lord, I my vows to Thee renew;
Disperse my sins as morning dew.
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with Thyself my spirit fill.
Direct, control, suggest, this day,
All I design, or do, or say,
That all my powers, with all their might,
In Thy sole glory may unite.
When I Googled it to be sure my memory was correct, I discovered that Ken’s 18th Century words have been set to new music by more than one contemporary Christian musician. It just proves that a good song never really goes away.
I hadn’t thought of those words for years, but I remembered that memorizing them turned out to be more than just a class requirement. They actually became a morning prayer for me as I walked from our apartment to the campus.
That last verse is just about as all-inclusive as you can get: direct…control…suggest…all I design…or do…or say. A prayer like that never goes out of date and could make a real difference in anyone’s life.
Our new life on the lake was interrupted last week with an overnight visit to Tampa General Hospital to deal with a nasty kidney stone. It was an interesting role reversal for me to be the patient instead of the pastor, riding down the halls in a wheel chair rather than walking down them, being cared for instead of being the one doing the caring, instead of feeling like “someone” with a clergy badge to feel like “anyone” who shows up needing help.
The good news is that I could not have received better care and am doing fine. I hit the road this week leading a clergy retreat in Baton Rouge and some workshops for church business administrators in Orlando before Marsha and I head to Charleston for some Gamma/Gampa time with Mattie. I think that’s why we retired!
Wherever your travels take you this summer, I also remember Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans singing, “Happy Trails to You.” Some old songs never really go away.
Grace and peace,