Monday, January 26, 2009

A simple song of worship to God

I like to buy in book stores and also in flea markets and other providers of used books hymnals and other collections of praise and worship songs. I just found a copy of “Singing Worship with Boys and Girls,” edited by Edith Lovell Thomas, Abingdon Press 1935. With so much violent, sleazy and at best world weary lyrics in many popular songs, I like to just read the simple poetry and grace of songs like these. I opened to one song when I first picked up the book and these are the lyrics. They provide such a simple and beautiful reminder of God’s nature.

God’s Signals
(Source unknown, music by U.C. Burnap, 1898)

I hung a pink-cloud ribbon
O’er the mountains free,
To say to you, “Good morning;”
Did you see? Did you see?

I asked a thrush to sing to you
Something glad and clear,
His joyous song at noontime;
Did you hear? Did you hear?

And then I asked the west winds,
So soft and sweet, to blow
To you my “Good night” tender;
Did you know? Did you know?

Sometimes a simple song such as this is an important reminder of the genuine “signs” of God and how they are there throughout the day. The song is structured to start with the morning dawn’s pink colored sky as the first greeting by God, the bird’s song in the midday whose song gladdens the hearts of humans who hear, and thus is a gift from God, and at night when the welcome breeze softly cools away the heat of the day’s labor. People constantly look for great signs and mighty deeds, especially those that might be apocalyptic, and they miss the hundreds of small signs from God about the goodness of life each day.

By the way, one of my fondest memory and emotion triggers is the song of the Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) at dusk. I have lived for many years in places where there would always be a Wood Thrush singing the transition from daytime into dark, and it has such a pure and sweet whistle.

If you go to this link and click on "Song" in the left column you can hear a brief clip of the Wood Thrush's song.

There is a longer sample at this link (click on "Sound"), that gives you not only its song, but at the end the sound of it being disturbed and somewhat peeved! So when you listen to this link you hear what I heard every evening during summer and autumn months, until the thrushes left for migration each year. For me they are like "comfort food" for the ears :-)

When I was still living at home and in school, the woods across the street was not developed for housing as it is now, and it had many thrushes, both Wood Thrushes and the Verry. There are five Hylocichala, all looking very similar, and I'm pleased to say that my birdwatching best friend and I had seen and identified all five. They look very much alike but can be easily distinguished by their distinctive songs.

I hope that you enjoyed reading this and thinking about this reminder.