Tag Archives: Stories

When the Sparrow Sang at Church

-by Elaine@hymnserve.com

Mother was always busy on Saturdays getting her Sunday School opening service ready.   This occurred about the first 20 minutes on Sunday Morning for the whole congregation but especially the children.  Afterward, everyone would proceed to their individual classes.  She would be highly focused, making posters with art pens and paints or something else to help illustrate the point she wanted to make.

One time she discovered a woman in the church who whistled beautifully and could make lovely bird calls.  A plan developed.  Next Sunday a soloist would sing the song “His Eye is On the Sparrow,” and the whistler would add beautiful bird sounds above her singing voice.   The whistler would be at a microphone back behind the platform out of sight.   A ‘sparrow’ created by Mother would be brought in to sit beside the soloist and appear to be the one whistling.

When the time came, Mother explained to the congregation that the sparrow itself was going to be heard from this morning at church.   While the soloist would sing, the sparrow would be accompanying her.

Mother covered me in a costume of crepe paper and dressed me up as a sparrow with wings and a bill and everything.  I could see out where they cut holes for my eyes.  I was perched on a little dolly.  Someone pulled me out across the platform beside the soloist.  When the whistling behind stage began, I moved my head as if the sparrow itself was doing the whistling.

The children were spellbound.  The adults already knew the words to that song and were were smiling at this unusual demonstration.  But they were also very moved at this beautiful musical reminder that, yes, our God is the one who sees us and knows us intimately. . . and loves us more than we can really comprehend, and we can rest assured he will take care of us at all times.

People outside of our area noted Mother’s opening services on Sunday mornings, because some years later, she was asked to repeat the sparrow event for the national Sunday School Convention in Springfield, Missouri.  Again I was dressed up as the sparrow, and again people responded, as they were reassured that we have a God who sees us, loves us, and watches over us.

A Hymn to Help

This song has helped so many people so many times.  It has been sung by the famous Ethel Waters and George Beverly Shea.  No doubt it has been hummed in many homes and remembered tearfully through many struggles.  It has backing in the scriptures and is stated so beautifully in Matthew 10 and Matthew 6.

     Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside     your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

     Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  

Mississippi Children’s Choir link below, singing “His Eye is On the Sparrow.”

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uatCU8QzdyA

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,

When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

 Refrain:

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,

For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,

And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;

Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,

When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,

I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Image

 Here is a picture of our Mother today.

Elaine@hymnserve.com

Elaine is the founder of hymnserve.com.  Her website provides downloadable hymn accompaniments for congregations, small groups and individuals.

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HymnServe.com – Moving from Texas to Alaska

-by Elaine@hymnserve.com

We were moving from Texas to Alaska and our house had to sell.  An exciting time but also scary.  Other people we knew had houses in their former cities of employment that they were having to maintain because they hadn’t sold.  So we got the house beautifully clean and delightful to look at. After all, that was not difficult, because this was such a fantastic house that I made calls to find the builder and already had a copy of the house plans in case we would want to build it someplace else.  So as the weeks went by we kept our hopes up and waited.

The time came when there indeed was a buyer.  We were ready for the inspection phase.  What follows is like a nightmare.  He came and placed red dots on almost all of the small panes of the lovely windows declaring that they were leaking. They were not cloudy like one would expect leaking windows to be.   He immediately shut down the furnace because of possible danger!  There were pages of problems around the house that he listed.  We were incredulous.  Now it was up to us to disprove these things or take the consequences, drastic reduction in price, if we were to keep the sale viable.  How would we ever be able to do this?

A Hymn to Help

There were sleepless nights for me.  One night I got up quietly so as not to disturb my husband and went out to sleep on the couch so my tossing and turning wouldn’t wake him.  As I lay there, I realized that a song was playing in the background of my mind and I didn’t pay much attention…the tune just going over and over.  Maybe I should bring the words of this song into focus, was my thought.  Could there be something there to help me feel better?  It was that old hymn “I’m a Child of the King.”  I remembered it well.  My heart leaped a bit when in my thoughts I say the first phrase.

My Father is rich in  houses  and  lands,   He holdeth the wealth of the  world  in  His  hands!       Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold, His coffers are full, He has riches untold!

I’m a child of the King, a child of the King.  With Jesus, my Savior, I’m a child of the King.

I could feel the tension in my body relax as I was reminded that I’m not in this alone.  My own Father above is more than adequate to handle where I will live and the finances connected with it.  I was so excited by this direct encouragement that I bounded off the couch and ran to my hymnal collection to look up the words of the other hymn verses to see if there is even more encouragement there.  Sure enough.  Excitedly I read,

A  tent  or  a  cottage,  why  should  I  care?    He’s  building   a   palace   for   me   over   there.  An exile from home, but still I can sing, Oh Glory to God, I’m a child of the King.

My relief was palpable.  Yes, Jesus was telling me now that I must not worry, that I will be okay.  A more humble abode than this one would be fine as the phrase a tent or a cottage explains.  We have health, we have family, and so many other blessings.  Yes, I will be an exile from home in that I am going to a place where I am a stranger, but the promise is that still I can sing and things will work out for us.  Blessed sleep follows.

Summers are hot in Texas and I needed to solve the furnace problem so we could use the air conditioner.  So I went to our file drawer and began to hunt for the furnace maintenance receipts.  After a tedious search,  I found a fairly recent receipt that showed a furnace maintenance.  Before my unbelieving eyes, our furnace man had uncharacteristically left a handwritten not on the receipt, Furnace is fine!

We slugged our way through all the other “problems” with our house through the weeks ahead.  The new buyers finally spoke to us with some kind of conciliatory statement to the effect that it was  somewhat embarrassing for them the way that inspector behaved.  We came out the other side of this trial breathing easier and with a clear vision for our next assignment in Alaska, thanks to our Lord, who is ever faithful in the crisis times.

– Elaine@hymnserve.com

Elaine is the founder of hymnserve.com. Her website provides downloadable hymn accompaniment for congregations, small groups and individuals.