One of the churches in Amsterdam–“Westerkerk“– was important for me to see because of its proximity to the Anne Frank House. It was built between 1619-1631 as a Reformed church.
One of my favorite things about this church is the fact that is has a carillon (a musical instrument of bells) such as the one that I played at the University of Kansas. Anne Frank spoke often in her diary about the comfort of the bells from that tower, while her family was hiding there during World War II.
Anne also spoke of seeing the tower and clock from the attic of the annex they hid in. I can see why this tower and its music and keeping of time would be such a comfort for them. It’s extremely painful to me, to think that Anne was not able to walk out onto these streets, ride her bike, or have the freedom and happy life she should’ve had, which was taken from her by the Nazi occupation and Holocaust. Next week I’ll share about our tour of the Anne Frank hiding home.
We were able to take a quick peek inside the church, and it’s beautiful! But oh, how much I would love to play its carillon! You can see an example in the video below — wait for it — you will see a live performance just like I was able to do when I lived near our World War II Carillon in Lawrence, Kansas. Really special!
Although I love hymns and choruses focused on God Himself, rather than on us as worshippers, there are some great lyrics that refer to the actual worship of the believer. These too have a place in our hymnals and in our worship.
Standing on the promises of Christ my King, thro’ the eternal ages let His praises ring. Glory in the highest I will shout and sing; standing on the promises of God. — R. Kelso Carter
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation! O my soul, praise Him, for He is they health and salvation! All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near; join me in glad adoration! — Joachim Neander
What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms. — Elisha A. Hoffman
This week I’ m focusing on hymn lyrics. I’ve been seeing these in my devotions this year and some of the lyrics have made their way into my journal. I’m not one to say that we need only hymns in our worship services, but I do think they have a way of worshipping God that is truly special. But chorus or hymn, I love the ones that are more focused on God (His character, His works, His heart) than on us (our worship, our service, our hearts).
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater; He sendeth more strength as our labors increase. To added afflictions He added His mercy; to multiplied trials He multiplies peace. –Annie J. Flint
I sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise.; that spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies. I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day. The moon shines full at His command and all the stars obey. — Isaac Watts
Wonderful grace of Jesus, reaching to all the lost. By it I have been pardoned, saved to the uttermost. Chains have been torn asunder, giving me liberty; for the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me. — Holder Lillenas
He framed the globe, He built the sky. He made the shining worlds on high and reigns in glory there. His beams are majesty and light; His beauties, how divinely bright! His dwelling place how fair! — Isaac Watts
Often the words of a song are exactly what the heart needs to hear. When I was still hurting from a bike accident three weeks later, these words of a chorus were wonderful to hear:
He knows my name.
He knows my every thought.
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call.
There are so many great choruses and hymns. I’ve been writing many of the individual lyrics into my journals this year:
O God, our Help in ages past,
Our Hope for years to come.
Be Thou my Guide while life shall last
And our eternal Home
What have I to dread? What have I to fear?
Leaning on the everlasting arms!
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms!
–Elisha A. Hoffman
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art.
Dear, desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Our next stop on the cruise was beautiful Costa Rica. We started the day with salmon eggs benedict on the ship and watched our arrival at Puerto Limon.
As we disembarked we could hear music off the deck of the boat, and it was a welcoming marimba duo that was wonderful!
Once again, we had a driver to take us to various places for the day and he was very nice and helpful in many ways.
First we went snorkeling and saw some wonderful fish and corral.
Before leaving the area, Oscar pointed out a sloth in the tree.
It was a great start to our day!
My Word of the Year has been “Worship,” as you may recall. I’ve certainly been learning to worship God in any and every situation, not only at church services, and not only when things are going well.
Today’s quote says it all — these lyrics of a song by Danny Oertli, a dear Compassion friend. He certainly learned to worship God through his tears when his first wife died of cancer. His music has always been a huge encouragement to me. This is truly what worship is all about — trusting God in all situations; knowing He’s still on the throne, and certain that He can be trusted fully. This is why we worship Him.
You know when I rise
You know when I sleep
You know that I need you desperately.
I pour out my soul, O Lord,
I worship You with tears.
I am broken.
I have nothing to give.
I fall at your feet
And worship You will tears.
I worship You will tears.