An Old Hymn Book

April 29, 1998
by Mary Daniel

Psalm 34:3 – O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

To the unknowing eye, it is just a battered old book of hymns, held together with aged adhesive tape which once was white. The binding has been broken back by years of being propped up on the organ.

Inside however, is the story of several lives.

The book's life began in 1897 and was revised in 1918. In that era it was used for "congregational use, family worship and private devotion".

Rusted paper clips on well-worn pages denote appropriate hymns to be played at Christmas, Easter, weddings, funerals, and "other occasions". Shorthand jotted down on several slips of paper interspersed with the odd joke tell us that the organist had some clerical background and a sense of humour.

One would also assume, from the condition of the hymn book, that it had been well used and thereby, its hymns had been oft played and sung by many.

Most people are familiar with the old saying, "you can't judge a book by its cover", meaning that you have to look inside to find the real essence of someone. But sometimes the outside gives a pretty good glimpse of the inside, as with the hymn book. We know it was well used.

God knows what is inside us and what we are "writing into our books", and he wants us to show that on the outside as well. In his graciousness, we are given the opportunity if not to "re-write" those chapters we would rather not have, at least to "release" them into a "new, revised, edition"

What will the books we leave behind say about us?

Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, thank you for your graciousness and understanding, and the opportunity to learn and grow. Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Mary Daniel <marydee@shaw.ca>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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