N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

MUSIC FOR THE SOUL

Coming home for Christmas…or not

We have all heard the song, “I’ll be home for Christmas”, but what if some of the people you love will not be there?  What if you were not invited to be with your family members in some other location?  You may have a family member in the military that is far away and the thing he or she would like most is to be with family,  but it is impossible. The song mentioned above is a heartbreak song for many.

There also may be family members who don’t want to share Christmas with you and have made that choice.  It is never easy to come to the realization that someone does not want to be with you on one of the most special times of the year…especially for Christians.   The question is…How does One deal with a reality at this time of year…or anytime, for that matter?

We really have one of two choices.  It can be to let our emotions and disappointment weigh us down OR turn our directions toward a time of thankfulness for all the other blessings that we have.

First, look around you.  Do you have other family members who are excited to be with you?  Lavish them with your love…for they have not turned away.   Do you have a roof over your head and food on the table?   Rest in your most comfortable chair and eat with gratefulness.  When the old, dark thoughts begin to come back and cloud your day, refuse them and look at the stars or the beautiful trees outside and realize that this life is too short to spend it in mourning…especially things that you can’t change.

Take someone by the hand and give them this message:

Christmas thought1

For us here in Florida, it may be down by the lake or through a green park, looking at the winter flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decorate a tree or a bush outside. Turn on some cheerful Christmas music…sacred or otherwise.  I never knew how anyone could come up with lyrics like “Grandmother got run over by a reindeer”…but maybe it is good to chuckle and then shake your head because we would never say something like that about our Grandmother.

Give your pet an extra pat on the head and a bone in his stocking.  What, no stocking for your dog!?   Find one.  Our beautiful 14-year-old Golden Retriever passed away this year, but I still strung lights around her memorial garden and whispered to her beautiful spirit, “These lights are just for you, Gracie”.  Surprisingly, a beautiful rose appeared on the bush above her little tombstone in the middle of winter.

Christmas 2013

Beautiful Gracie at Christmas 2015

If none of these spark your imagination or lift your spirits about missing family or friends, turn toward someone outside the family.   The scriptures tell us something that we should be doing, not only at Christmas but always.

James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

My husband and I have been surprised on returning to Florida from Virginia, how many people around us are either recent widows or in the last few years have become widowers.   We decided to visit them for a while to listen to their thoughts and feelings.  One lady has just recently lost her husband and will be having Christmas lunch with us.  I mention this to say that when we are feeling “blue” about family situations, it changes things when we reach out. Christmas on receiving

Don’t forget the different organizations that make it possible to help children who are in need.  Recently a child had written to her teacher that he only wanted Santa to bring a ball, some food and added…”I need a blanket.”   If that does not pull you out of doldrums, you may need to examine charities like Samaritan’s Purse that brings smiles to children around the world.   ( See Operation Christmas Child..Samaritan’s Purse)

Operation Christmas Graham Liberia

Christmas is not all about giving or getting.  I recently told someone that if I would receive a letter from my children saying anything of appreciation for me as their Mother, THAT would be “the best Christmas present of all.”    So often Christmas is hard on those who have had expenses throughout the year and the funds are just not there for presents of any kind.  Kind words and thoughtfulness is only the cost of a 50 cent stamp.

Christmas stamp

I close with this thought, with the help of a little friend, on the real reason for the need to choose a better outlook on the season:

True Christmas message

 

VIDEO     Winchester Cathedral Choir    (Turn up sound)


Let your heart be at PEACE

Fall leaves

It would be easy to listen and see the catastrophes in the world and become distressed…even asking “Where is God?”

Today we are going to focus on PEACE within our hearts.   Take a few minutes to listen and reflect….and pray for those who have lost so much.   The people of an American small-town, Sutherland Springs, Texas, are in our prayers.

GOD HAS NOT FORGOTTEN YOU

 

some of the children murdered in Sutherland Springs TX church 2017

Children of Sutherland Springs Church:  Ryland Ward with Joann Ward in the back and sisters Emily (8) far left, Ryland Ward (5) 2nd from left, Brooke (5) 2nd from right, Rihanna (9) far right. (online Courtesy photo)

In God’s Holy Word, a warning about harming a child:

Matthew 18:6 – But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone was hanged about his neck, and he was drowned in the depth of the sea.
Romans 12:19 – Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.    (International version)

Heidi-McLaughlin-woman-praying1

(picture by H. McLaughlin)

Now rest your minds and soul:   VIDEO  Turn up sound

 


Ancient Christian Traditions…a Journey

Orthodox Russian church in Russia

For our weekend pleasure, I would like to take you on a journey to a place that most people will not go.  We will go via this blog and video to Valaam and the archipelago of monks who live and worship there today.

Valamo Monastery is a Russian Orthodox monastery in Russian Karelia, located on Valaam, the largest island in Lake Ladoga, which is the largest lake in Europe. The monastery of Valaam has a unique tradition of singing, called the Valaam chant, that combines some features of  Byzantine and Znamenny chants.

For all Christians everywhere, the life of faith is a journey.  It may be hard for some believers to understand the various forms of Christian worship and the interpretation of the Holy Life.   Just as there are differences in worship between the various Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic or Anglican liturgy, all study the Holy Scriptures and live their lives accordingly.  One may question if these men of the monasteries understand grace…and grace alone.  Do they believe that their lives of dedication is a type of works that will gain them eternal life?   I would pray that they understand that Christ has done all there is to do for our salvation and faith in Him is the way and only way of eternal life. There are no works that can save.  Nevertheless, the brotherhood, obedience, and beauty of their worship service

One may question if these men of the monasteries understand grace…and grace alone for salvation? Do they believe that their life of dedication is a type of works that will gain them eternal life?   I would pray that they understand that Christ has done all there is to do for our salvation. His death on the cross paid the entire price for sin.  Nevertheless, the brotherhood, obedience, and beauty of their worship service is all to be admired. Their spiritual life of prayer is their gift to the world.  There is a restfulness and peace about their dedicated lives.  Prayer is extremely important to them as it should be to all Christians.

While the lake is frozen, the monks work at their assigned jobs, pray and meditate.  When the lake thaws, they welcome the world with its pain and sorrows. They become a sounding board for the weary of life, sick and discouraged.  Even those who may be oppressed or possessed by evil, come to the monastery for relief.  Young people, often from orphanages, come to draw strength for their everyday lives of temptations.

The gentleman who visits the monastery is looking to talk again with Father Seraphim, whom he visited 20 years before.  The Father explains that their mission is to pray nightly for the world that is “upside down”.  It is a blessing and relief to know that Christians in remote places are praying for a world that so desperately needs God’s help. Thank you, Monks of Valaam. 

The video (with English subtitles)  gives insight into the ancient Christian traditions and the priests of today who live and worship in the Valaam Monastery in frozen Russia.  (Suggestion:  If the video is too long for your period of time to view, simply pause, minimize and go back to it for another segment.  You will be blessed.)


The Peace and Beauty of Gregorian Chants


Gregorian chant album

 

  • THE HISTORY OF THE GREGORIAN CHANT:

“Gregorian chant takes it name from Pope St. Gregory the Great. Although the tradition proclaims him as the composer of chant, historical scholarship shows rather that he served as the great link between the early Church and the Middle Ages. As such, he symbolizes the chant of the churches in Rome, which spread to England and to Gaul in the seventh and eighth centuries. 

With the impetus of Charlemagne (768-814) and his Carolingian renaissance, musicians created new and more elaborate chants. The early development is difficult to trace because all the music was handed on as an oral tradition; nothing was written down even though the repertoire for the Mass and the Divine Office comprised well over 2,000 pieces” 

monks singing chants

  • MODERN PERFORMANCES and revival of the chant: 

(Wikipedia)   “The monks of Santo Domingo de Silos have been singing Gregorian chant since the 11th century (before that, they used Mozarabic chant). There was a break in the tradition the nineteenth century when the abbey was closed by the government as part of the so-called Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal. The abbey was re-established with the help of monks from Solesmes Abbey in France. Solesmes is known for its commitment to plainsong and the Solesmes style of singing has influenced the Spanish monks of Santo Domingo de Silos.

  • WHY LISTEN TO GREGORIAN CHANT MUSIC?

Becky Fulton, a student,  had this thought:  “Since I study Classics and take Latin, I can recognize the prayers and how they roughly translate. However, since the vowels are elongated within the songs, I have to concentrate to be able to make out the words being sung so I can keep the songs in the background without them distracting me as I try to work. But most of the time I am able to easily translate the title of the song and get an idea of what it is about. I also find the songs to be calming not only when I’m trying to study or work on an essay, but also if I want to relax or sleep. The harmonies of the (most likely) monks singing the songs allow the listener to take in the many voices of the of the chorus and enjoy the music.”

I agree with Becky.  Sometimes just having the chant in the background is very soothing. My suggestions would be to lean back, close your eyes and visualize something wonderful.   Therefore, I share with you this recording FOR YOUR WEEKEND LISTENING PLEASURE:   Gregorian Chants from Assisi-Medieval Lauds

VIDEO:

 

 


Hymn to the Fallen

John Williams composed the Hymn to the Fallen.  The video below shows only a few memorials of those whose lives were cut short by a war.   Today we hear threats and concerns about the possibilities of war.  In many parts of our world, a war is a reality.  The people, who suffer under these circumstances, know every day what war is about.  They bury their dead. They cradle children in their arms who are dead or dying.

Today we hear threats and concerns about the possibilities of war.  In many parts of our world, a war is a reality.  The people, who suffer under these circumstances, know every day what war is about.  They bury their dead. They cradle children in their arms who are dead or dying.

man carries child in Syria

Man carries child in Syria  Photo by Reuters

 

War is the hell it always was.  No new war will ever make the pain or tragedy any less.  We must remember this.  Our leaders must remember this.  Those who would announce that they intend to harm a country that is living peacefully must remember this.

US dead come home

Even though we have memorials around the world for the Americans who died in past wars, we should not forget all the Americans who have lost their lives in more recent years:  according to the Military Times:  Listed below are the most current statistics according to their database. (*These statistics may not reflect exact figures.) Pictures of the fallen are shown by clicking on the blue words.

Total: 6894

Do you know where our American heroes are buried?  Yes, some were brought back to the United States.  Others lie in graves by the thousands in places far from home.  Take a moment to reflect on exactly where they are.

VIDEO:   For your Sunday meditation and prayers:  Hymn of the Fallen


The Words of the Mouth vs Peace in the Heart

 We must pull back and rest our souls.

How is this done one may ask?    Because no one can do it for us, we have to find a way to limit what we see and hear, especially through the internet,  from those who would deliberately harm our peace of heart and spread their evil thoughts.

Example:  The  hateful messages sent over the internet concerning Senator John McCain’s diagnosed brain cancer…and those attributing it to God’s wrath for McCain’s political views.  How insane!

God does not bring illness or evil to the people of the world that He sent His Only Son to die for.  We have natural causes for illness…whether it is the environment, disease, genetics, or things about which we know nothing.  We must put our entire lives in God’s hands and do our best to correct, through medicine and prayer, what we can of human sufferings.

Years ago so many died of the black plague and other diseases.   Thankfully God has given us the intelligence to research for cures still unknown. We at Boyer Writes wish Senator McCain the blessings and peace of God.

( Shown above is McCain when he was released after 5 years as a prisoner of war and Senator McCain today. )

Those physical afflictions, not caused by natural causes,  would be wars or individual decisions that bring pain, not only to the body, but to the spirit and soul. These are caused by human beings, which usually starts with the words that come from the mouth or hatred in the heart.

For all the good technology give us and the ability it gives every human being  to spread quickly words of evil or encouragement, we may once again be reminded of what one of the greatest geniuses of our time had to say.  Human kindness and interaction is one of our most important qualities.

Albert Einstein quote on technology.

 

The Holy Scriptures remind us of this in 1st Peter 3:9.  “ Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

 

crown of thorns and cross

Video:

Miserere Mei Deus (Allegri) – King’s College Choir, Cambridge


World’s Must Beautiful Music

For your weekend listening pleasure….from Boyer Writes.


HE is RISEN!

 HE IS RISEN!

Somewhere around the world, it is now Easter Sunday morning.  Christ is risen…risen indeed!  The grave could not hold him.  He walked among His disciples and followers, showing  them the scars in His hands.  Because of His Resurrection, those who love  and believe on Him,  will also have a resurrection.   Hallelujah!

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In services and performances  around the world, when the Hallelujah chorus is sung, the audience stands.  It is said that this tradition began when King George II, attending the London premiere of “Messiah” in March of 1743, was so moved by the “Hallelujah” that he stood up and if the king stands, everyone  stands.   One can understand why King George was moved because it is truly one of the great compositions of music.

Handel’s Messiah…Hallelujah Chorus

Hallelujah!
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
and of His Christ;
and He shall reign for ever and ever.
King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
Hallelujah! (Revelation 19)   Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
and hath redeemed us to God by his blood,
to receive power, and riches,
and wisdom, and strength,
and honor,and glory, and blessing.
Blessing and honor, glory and power,
be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne,
and unto the Lamb,
For ever and ever! Amen.  (Revelation 5)

The Choir of Wells Cathedral

 Directed by Matthew Owens

 Selections: ‘Hallelujah…Worthy is the Lamb That Was Slain… Amen

 Each tells the story of the birth (Christmas), passion, death, and resurrection (Easter) of Jesus and of the eventual resurrection of humankind to the glory of Heaven.

Link to:  Complete performance of Handel’s Messiah   with great art of the Masters


Blood Money

religious Judas kissing Jesus

Judas Iscariot has become a name synonymous with betrayal and evil against the Son of God, Jesus Christ.   No person would want to name their child  Judas because of what the name represents.   There has been debate about whether Judas, who had spent at least three years following Christ; seeing His miracles and hearing His words of wisdom and love, could actually be forgiven for what he ultimately did.   The Holy Scriptures tells us that he took money from those willing to pay him for betrayal.  This is the Blood Money of which we write.  He knew that he was selling out an innocent person.  ( Matthew 26:24 says that it would have been better for him that he was never born. )

Jesus knew who would betray Him and told Judas that what he was about to do, to do it quickly.  Even though the other disciples seemed to have no idea what  Judas was up to, it was clear that both he and Jesus knew this would happen.

What happened to Judas at that point?  We are told that when he made his decision to betray an innocent person…the Messiah…that Satan entered into him. (John 13:27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him…”  

Once a person has allowed Satan to take over, there seems to be no turning back.  His mind was clear about the reality.   He was doing a wrong and horrible thing to the innocent Son of God.  He was about to do the very thing that would lead him to his own death and he was doing it with a kiss.

Afterwards,  Judas was remorseful, but being remorseful does not necessarily mean that there was repentance.  Rather than seeking  forgiveness, “…he went away and hanged himself”  Matthew 27:5

Yes, he had tried to give the money back, which those ready to kill Jesus would not receive.  ( And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.  But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.”  So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place   (Matthew 27:5-8)  Aceldama (əkĕl´dəmə) [Aram.,=field of blood]

One may ask the question, “Is there anything that God will not forgive?”   It appears so if there is not true repentance.  We have good news of justification in the Holy Scripture about this subject and God’s washing of us clean with the sacrifice of his life for us.  However, there will be those who will read this scripture and be disturbed by it because it does not fit the ideas of modern society:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11  

One must remember that there is always repentance.   Jesus met the woman at the well and told her everything that she had done wrong in life.  He met others whose lives were out of control and he only said, “Go and sin no more.”

We are told that blaspheming the Holy Spirit is unforgivable:  Mark 3:28-29   “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.  Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”    We hear people swear using God’s or Jesus’ name in vain, but I’ve not heard anyone swear using the name of the Holy Spirit.   Why?   I don’t know. 

People who are dying may ask for the last rites or prayers be said for them.   This is a good practice for those who want to get things right with God before meeting Him face to face. This is most helpful. However, it does not take a priest or someone to pray over us to make this happen.  As I have often said in my blogs, the shower is a great place to pray.  God is anywhere you are.

So often people die tragically with no warning.  This is why we should face each day with a  prayer of confession and each night with a contrite  heart before our Creator. God looks on the heart.  In this time of Lent, before Easter, we lay ourselves and our actions before Him…knowing that He has paid the price for sin and has promised a glorious resurrection to those who trust and follow Him.

Do we have the answers to what will happen to those evil ones in the world, who attribute to the harming of others or those who shed innocent blood?  The answer is “No” but God has told us to repent and He will remember our sins no more.

There are many who are guilty of “blood money”….blood actions… and God is the great and powerful Judge Who will one day ask for accountability.  No one wants to be a Judas.

All we can pray is “God forgive me.  Draw me nearer to You.”

Video.  Turn on sound and enlarge.

Hymn written by Sarah F. Adams, 1841. Sung  by the Sharon Singers of the Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute.

 

 

 


Music for Lent…Requiem

Statue of Mozart in Vienna

Mozart Statue in Vienna… It was erected in 1898 and moved to its current location in 1953, reflecting Vienna’s love of the music of Mozart.

Some of the world’s most beautiful music has been composed to bring us into a worshipful place.  Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart is one of those compositions.

Mozart died less than six months after writing this music.  He composed the motet while in the middle of writing his opera, Die Zauberflote, and while visiting his wife, Constanze,  who was pregnant with their sixth child.  The motet,  which is a short piece of sacred choral music, typically polyphonic and unaccompanied, foreshadows “aspects of the Requiem, that is a mass for remembrance of those who died.   The best-known part of the requiem mass starts with these words:

“Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine” or “Give them eternal rest, O Lord

At this time of Lent, music played before Easter is usually mournful or sad because Christians are contemplating remembering the death of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.  Often a black cloth is draped across the crosses…to be removed on the glorious day of resurrection…Easter Sunday.

Turn on your sound and enlarge the picture for the best of King’s College choir at Cambridge and the Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart.

Blessings and peace to you from Boyer Writes


Candle Light of Hope

This evening our church, St. James Episcopal church in Leesburg, Florida, USA,  presented the beautiful music of Christmas.  The music and readings shared the Christmas story of eternal hope, brought to us first by a small baby in a manger. This was the beginning of God’s plan for man to know God. It was His purpose to bring the Father’s love and forgiveness to the world.    The Christmas story is the plan for redemption for the people of the world through our crucified and risen Lord Jesus.  The season of Christmas is more than a “holiday”, it is the HOPE for every man, woman, young person and child.

st-james-episcopal-christmas-choir-2016

St. James Episcopal Choir “Sing Noel…Christ is Born!” directed by Deb Carraway and the children’s choir directed by Beth Williams

One of the songs the choir sang, with orchestra accompaniment,  was The Candle Light Carol  by John Rutter.   Here is another version of that music played for your Christmas pleasure by Lyceum Philharmonic. (The American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic is an audition-only ensemble for advanced high-school-aged musicians. Students perform masterworks of the repertory alongside sacred music… conducted by  Kayson Brown.)

Pass on the light of His love and His message of hope.  Blessings and Merry Christmas from Boyer Writes

1000 Images About Candlelight Service On Pinterest Royalty Free

 

 


One Voice… Together

universe and hands

As a Christian who worships in the Episcopal Church,  (that’s Anglican to you Brits), I am used to quiet, reverent worship and more traditional Christian music. My readers have probably noticed that I often post choirs from England because it is the music I love. When I heard this praise music and it being sung in so many languages, I felt it was time to think about being ONE voice…together...in a world that is so divided and torn.

The Holy Scriptures says in Philippians 2:9-11
“Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 

Someday politics will not matter…  presidents, kings or queens will no longer rule but bend the knee like the rest of us. We will all stand before the throne of God and His Son, Jesus.   He will hear us in our own language… or the  language of heaven…whatever that may be.  In His love and presence, we will be ONE with no more tears, sadness or evil ways. It is definitely something to ponder.

The song that is being sung is Revelation Song written by Jennie Lee Riddle.  You may want to know the story behind the song.   (Every country and the written language of the singers is shown. Turn on the sound. )     If this touches you, pass it along to others.


Fill All Lands with Glory…A New Focus and Invitation

joyWith so much sadness and darkness in the world, we must lift up our voices and “Shine”to dispel the gloom and doom. Look at the faces, on the video below,  of  Christians in the Royal Albert Hall in London. They represent every age, race, and gender.    Multiply their  voices and faces of all Christian people world-wide who can  bring light into the world.  It is our duty and joy to share  our voices of hope.  As He has said, Christ is our only hope and redemption.   Our only cry should be for all nations and what God wants for His world and His creation.

An Invitation to a new FOCUS:  Join Boyer Writes with  a new daily focus and see what it does to your life. We certainly understand that this may not be easy.

What is this new focus?

  • Decide if you want your minds and life to be changed from a daily bombardment of darkness or  to light and joy, where you can reach for inner peace and calm.
  • This may mean deciding to switch off  the TV news and discussion groups for a period of one month or longer.
  • Even though this is not Lent, many times during the season of Lent, Christians choose to restrict themselves from certain things in order to draw closer to God.
  • This invitation is to do a similar thing.
  • Choose your own New Focus
  • If you make this decision, please use the “Comment” on this post or write an email to Boyer Writes and let us know of your choice in order that we may pray for this new focus in your life.   boyerwrites@yahoo.com   (copy email and paste)

  Fill our lands with your glory, Lord!  Dispel the darkness. Shine on Us!

Turn on sound

 


An Unusual Tour of St.Paul’s Cathedral, London

st paul's cathedral London

If one has had the opportunity to worship at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, it is most likely that this part of the Cathedral was not seen.    The construction of such a place is even more dramatic when one has climbed to its highest peeks.   For your Sunday, enjoy this unusual tour.  After the tour, return and be inspired by St. Paul’s Cathedral music.

MUSIC AT ST.PAUL’S CATHEDRAL   Psalm 150 sung with full choir and orchestra

Psalm 150: Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise Him in the firmament of His power.

Praise Him for his mighty acts: praise Him according to His excellent greatness.

 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet: praise Him with the psaltery and harp.

 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance: praise Him with stringed instruments and organs.

 Praise Him upon the loud cymbals: praise Him upon the high sounding cymbals.

 Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.

 


Count Down to Glorious Easter_ Day 4

This is the Thursday before the Crucifixion of Jesus.  On Holy Thursday (also called Maundy Thursday), Christians commemorate the Last Supper—a Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples the night before his death, which we shared in our last blog.  During the meal, Jesus broke bread and offered his followers wine, saying “This is my body, given up for you.”The arrest and flagellation of Jesus occurred before his trial.  Condemned, he was led off to suffer crucifixion on the cross, a Roman means of torture and death.

-Flagellation-of-christ-_Rubens

Painting by Rubens

Credits:  Video St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir “God So Loved The World” by John Stainer.  Cathedral photographs St.Paul online.


Count down to Glorious Easter_ Day 5

 

Christ at Last Supper

The Last Supper with the Disciples

“Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’

And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.’

In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, ‘ This cup is the new covenant [established by] My blood; it is shed for you. But look, the hand of the one betraying Me is at the table with Me! For the Son of Man will go away as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” Luke 22: 17-22

gethsemane

Then He went to pray in the garden.  “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”  Matthew 26:39

Credits:  Photo on History Channel  Actor,  Choir  Kings College

 


Relaxing Music to Calm the Soul

For your relaxation ….enjoy and pray for our world.


Begin the New Year with Music and Lessons You May Have Missed at Christmas

Christ ChildPerhaps your Christmas was too involved and busy to settle back and listen to some of the world’s most beautiful music.  Put down the phone; turn off the TV and enjoy the best of this Holy Season .  This  is your moment to listen and meditate on things beautiful while you sip a favorite beverage. 

 May God bless you in a special way in this New Year.


Delores by Waldteufel

One of my favorites for your listening pleasure…short and sweet!

Orchestra Version of Delores

 

 

 

 

 


The Mountain Way

Blue Ridge mountains Fox RunFrom the first time I rode up the steep mountain from North Carolina to Fancy Gap, Virginia, I knew it was a special place.  It took, however, living here as a “flat lander” to get to know the mountain people.  One may ask, “What is a flat lander?”    Those are the people who come from places far south…like Florida.

This “flat lander” had grown up in the Brushy Mountains of North Carolina and later in the Winston-Salem area.  I was blessed with a big family…about 15 first cousins and many aunts and uncles…in that area, but my parents moved away from the cold of the mountains to the warmth of Florida.  It took me over 50 years to return to my roots…even if for a few months of the year.

I found more than I had expected….a whole way of life that I now call the “Mountain Way”.   It first became clear to me when my husband and I were looking for a second, get-away place in the Virginia area.   The realtor who showed us around drove us in a 4-wheeler up a steep mountain that leveled out onto a pasture land with a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge.   (In case the Blue Ridge is new to any of my readers, it is a stretch of mountains running over 400 miles through several southern states.   The building of this wonderful place is another story, but briefly it was to give the people work during the depression.  The wonderful rock bridges; scenic overlooks and miles of blooming rhododendron is worth the trip.  Dogwoods blossom in the spring and there seems to be waves of trees and flowering bushes that make their entrance to the place known as the Blue Ridge Parkway.)Va flowering2

Back to my first introduction to the mountain way.  The realtor stopped the car and a farmer who was bailing his hay made his way up slowly in our direction.  No one introduced us, but the farmer and the realtor began an extensive discussion about his land.  This conversation seemed to be quite long about almost nothing to those of us flat landers who like to get things done quickly.   We sat quietly and listened.  Finally something was mentioned about my early years down the mountain…in N.C. and all of my relatives there.  There was a complete change of mood…and accepting smiles.  We found out that the realtor knew what he was doing because in the mountains  it is customary to “visit a while” before getting down to business.

Family relations mean everything to the mountain people.   I was to find out that many of the old farms date back before the Civil War. One young man told us that his family was given hundreds of acres by the King of England, before the Revolutionary War.  This land remains in his  family until this day. One can see scattered around the hills little family cemeteries.

Mountain people, we are told, are glad that the outsiders come to the mountains…enjoy the area…and spend their money to help an ailing economy, but they have “about all the friends they need.”   Almost everyone is related to someone…or if they are not, they have grown up with them and know all the family members.

These warm and friendly people are strong in their beliefs…as this is also known as the Bible Belt.  Faith is important.  When a politician made a remark about people “clinging to their guns and Bibles”.   A truer statement could have not been made…even if it was said with some sarcasm.   Even recently, we noticed that when the controversy about the Confederate flag made the people of the mountain think that their southern history was being attacked, the few Confederate flags suddenly became many flags being flown from porches or alongside the American flag.    “Don’t tell us what should be politically correct here in the south….and don’t even think  about taking away our guns!”  one might hear a mountain man or woman say.  While living here, we have not seen racial bias…which is not to say there isn’t any.   One thing is certain.   These are a strong people… a proud people…with mountain ways which anyone who plans to live here will be smart to learn and appreciate.

The mountain people have dug their roots deep into the soil. They are unpretentious and comfortable in who they are.   It may be the older men who sit around at the local store passing the time or the hefty man in bib overalls talking on his cell phone about getting the cooler ready for a side of beef.  Everyone shares their vegetables of corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach and some things I didn’t know grew in the ground.spinach Almost each time my husband returned from choir practice, he had a bag full of the latest items grown in someone’s garden.

Mountain stories and the history of the area tell of tough times when people tackled the cold of winter while raising huge families down in some of the mountain passes and hollows (low place in the mountain known as a “holler”). There are places with names like Buffalo Mountain, Fancy Gap, Groundhog Mountain and more than one can remember of gaps and passes.  (*see history books below)  The deer roam freely and stop their eating to stare at those of us passing by. deer sm

We had only just moved into our Virginia house when  a man came down the road asking if we had seen his cow?   It appeared that the cow had gotten through the fence…as did a very large, black bull that also came down our road.   People in the mountains help each other…even the flat landers.   Our neighbors arrived from Florida one snowy day and could not get up their steep driveway.  Hearing the spinning tire noise, it was not long before another mountain neighbor came with his tractor to pull them the rest of the way up the drive.

Ever hear of the two finger way?  Almost all mountain people use it.  This means, regardless of who it may be…the passing driver will raise his two fingers off the stearing wheel to give a little wave as the other driver passes.   My first impression of that was, “Do we know them?”  The answer of course  is “no”…but it is the friendly mountain way.

Music is a wonderful part of the mountains.   Tonight we rode the parkway to the Music Center to hear a concert of country music along with the “blue grass” strumming of banjo, guitar, bass, and more.  One of the best of the best is a gentleman named Wayne Henderson.  wayne henderson sm Mr. Henderson has a tiny workshop where he makes guitars.  These are so sought after that a person may wait years to get one…and at a very hefty price.  He is a man of the mountains who has been honored for his contribution and preservation of mountain music…even playing in Carnegie Hall.

Below is a video that I’d like to share with you because this blog may become a book if I continue. The fact is  I may write more about my experiences here in the mountains where the August temperature moves easily from 65-75 degrees, with a cool mountain breeze.  Today this “flat lander” is glad to be in the mountains…enjoying the mountain ways and the wonderful people here.

Wayne Henderson video:

History books about the Blue Ridge areas found on Amazon.

The Man Who Moved a Mountain  by Richard Davids

Orlean Puckett: The Life of a Mountain Midwife  by Karen C. Smith

 


Music and Flowing Water

VA brookThe restfulness of a flowing stream gives moments of peace.   Take time to relax this weekend.  Look at the new leaves and the flutter of the birds and the opening of a new flower.Va flowering2Birds yellow finches  VA

God’s creation is a thing to cherish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Easter Sunday 2015 CHRIST IS RISEN!

Whatever time zone, it is now Easter in parts of the world. Especially remember our Christian brothers and sisters who have suffered so much in this last year…and in the University in Kenya just this week.  We pray that those who said, “Yes, I am a Christian” will have experienced the Risen Lord, in all His glory, with their last breath.

HE IS RISEN….CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED.    Hallelujah Chorus sung by King’s College Choir and Orchestra


For your listening pleasure…the new growth of Spring

The trees are beginning to turn green. In some areas the bulbs planted last year are beginning to push their heads through the soil.  There is nothing like Spring after a very long…cold winter.

For your listening pleasure….piano and a flowing river.