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
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.
While in Nairobi we also got to meet some young men that Chris knew from a previous trip. Patrick and Freddie are members of a Christian band called “BMF” — or “Be My Faithful.” They are very well known in Kenya, and other places, and we were privileged to have dinner with them. This is Freddie on the left and Patrick on the right.
Our dinner was delicious:
We heard some of their stories and asked a lot of questions about various ministries. Patrick works with a ministry called “Dusty Feet,” which is working to rescue children from slave labor (check out their website here!. These guys have a heart of gold, and it was a pleasure to meet them!