Music Lessons

ShipOfFools_web_10042015For if you forgive others their trespasses,

your heavenly Father will also forgive you . . .

(Matt 6:14)

Music Lessons

 

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

 

My father and mother met during a couples skate in August 1951

at an roller-skating rink in Guelph, Ontario where she grew up.

At the time, mom worked as a singer with an orchestra

and she played popular music on the piano.

 

My piano lessons came about more by accident.

 

One morning as my dad was backing out of the driveway on Trexler Road,

He ran into one of the neighbors—a Mrs. C who was a piano teacher.

I still remember the tail lights shattered and scattered all over the road.

Not long thereafter, my sister, Diane, and I began lessons with Mrs. C.

 

At the time I was in fourth grade.

 

Mom used to play hymns and Broadway musical hits in the evening

On the old, second-hand piano that we kept in the recreation room.

Hymns like How Great Thou Art that George Beverly Shea used to sing

Hits like One Enchanted Evening from the Broadway musical, South Pacific.

 

I was never that good.

 

I would have loved to play piano and lead folks in signing around the piano

Like they did in movies like It’s a Wonderful Life.

But instead I practiced half an hour a day,

And fretted about not seeing a favorite television show.

Later when I took up trombone lessons, I gave up the piano

Until about 20 years later when my kids were born.

 

Still, I remember Mrs. C and her accident . . .

 

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Albany

ShipOfFools_web_10042015And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matt 6:13 ESV)

Albany

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Albany was a place where I learned to ride in a bright red wagon.
We lived on a hill and I dreamed of riding my wagon down it.
Someone told me it was a bad idea.
Someone dared me to do it.
So I rode down the hill steering with the handle.
Until I got to the corner.
where the wagon turned over and threw me out.
I scraped my knee but good.
I cried and cried.
And Mom put a bandaid on it.

Our house had a bathroom with a big tumb.
I loved to run the water and run my electric speedboat in it.
But my sister would always come running and want to play too.
I hated to share my boat—the batteries would run down and
I would not get new ones til Christmas.
So I told her what fun it was to put soap in your eyes—
She cried and cried.
And Mom came running.

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Prayer Day 40: A Christian Guide to Spirituality by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Espera verano 2015
Espera verano 2015

Loving Father. You clothe the birds that neither spin or reap (Matt 6:26). You send the rain and the sunshine on the just and the unjust without discrimination (Matt 5:45). You make the day and the night to bless us with activities and with sleep (Gen 1:5). We cast our obsessions and addictions at your feet. In the power of your Holy Spirit, heal our relationships and soften our hearts that we might grow more like you with each passing day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Padre Amoroso, vistes las aves que ni siegan ni recogen (Mt. 6:25-26). Envías el sol y la lluvia sobre justos e injustos sin discriminación (Mt. 5:5). Haces el día y la noche para bendecirnos con actividades y sueños (Gén. 1:5). Lanzamos nuestras obsesiones y adicciones a Tus pies. En el poder del Espíritu Santo, sana nuestras relaciones y suaviza nuestros corazones para que podamos crecer más como Tú cada día. En el nombre de Jesús oramos. Amén.

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Prayer Day 40: A Christian Guide to Spirituality By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Available on Amazon.com
Available on Amazon.com

Loving Father. You clothe the birds that neither spin or reap (Matt 6:26). You send the rain and the sunshine on the just and the unjust without discrimination (Matt 5:45). You make the day and the night to bless us with activities and with sleep (Gen 1:5). We cast our obsessions and addictions at your feet. In the power of your Holy Spirit, heal our relationships and soften our hearts that we might grow more like you with each passing day. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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2 Corinthians 4: Jars of Clay

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 ESV)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Hudson Taylor, the founder of China Inland Mission, wrote in his autobiography of a Buddhist who came to Christ in 1857 in Ningpo.  A few nights after his conversion, he asked how long the British had known about Jesus Christ.  Being told that they had known for hundreds of years, he exclaimed:  My father sought after the truth for more than 20 years, and died without finding it. Oh, why did you not come sooner? [1] The Psalmist writes:

For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:8-9 ESV)

The priceless treasure that comes to us in jars of clay, unfortunately, does not come to everyone.

As a student of marketing, I bear witness to the importance of packaging—especially for perishable products.  Walking through a typical supermarket today, we can see thousands of delicious and beautiful food products which 100 years ago were unknown to most of humanity.  Why?  Because the cost of packaging, transportation, and refrigeration was simply too high.  Today, high quality packaging and refrigeration are taken for granted.  We do not even think about such things.  Instead, we just buy whatever looks good and assume that it will always be available for a modest cost.

When it comes to spiritual matters, however, looks can be deceiving.  The Apostle Paul writes:

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (vv 3-4).

The Gospel is veiled in the story of Jesus Christ who was executed on a cross for sedition and whose story is best told by followers who understand the meaning of suffering.  Of the suffering, Paul writes:

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. (vv 8-10)

You see, the packaging is a bit worn and is not at all attractive—clay pots that hide the value of what is found inside.  Again, Paul writes:  In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (v 4).

Looks can be deceiving…

[1] J. Hudson Taylor.  1987.  Hudson Taylor (Autobiography).  Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. Pages 126-127. @bethany_house, www.BethanyHouse.com

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Prayer Day 16: A Christian Guide to Spirituality by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Available on Amazon.com
Available on Amazon.com

Loving Father. You clothe the birds that neither spin or reap (Matt 6:26). You send the rain and the sunshine on the just and the unjust without discrimination (Matt 5:45). You make the day and the night to bless us with activities and with sleep (Gen 1:5). We cast our obsessions and addictions at your feet. In the power of your Holy Spirit, heal our relationships and soften our hearts that we might grow more like you with each passing day. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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