If I Were a Hymn…
By Vera Entwistle of Eugene, OR, USA
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. —Romans 15:5–7 NRSV, adapted
We sing many wonderful hymns which bring to mind fond memories.
Before I joined Community of Christ, I attended my first worship service when I was 16 years old. I sat on the back row with my boyfriend, Brian, with his Entwistle cousins on either side of me. (For the record, my maiden name is Meadows.)
We stood to sing the hymn “Fairest Lord Jesus.” Suddenly the cousins began to chuckle, and when they sang the second verse, they sang their version: “Fair are the meadows, fairer still the Entwistles,” followed by much laughter. To this day when I sing that hymn, I am back in the pew in the Wigan Congregation.
Years ago when I worked at a mission center office, my coworker, Alta Witte, told me that when she was a child her family had an old, stubborn horse named Ebenezer. As a child, when she sang the hymn that included the words “Here I raise my Ebenezer,” Alta thought they were singing about their horse rising from the dead. Now when I sing that hymn, my memories fly back to my friend Alta, and I smile.
Many years ago, my dear friend Charles Neff shared with me his love of the ministry he offered in parts of Asia. He told me his favorite hymn was “Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life.” Life took me, also, to live and work in China, and I remember the first time I stood at an intersection of roads in Shanghai teeming with traffic and people. I thought of the words of that hymn, and I remembered my friend Charles.
Now I enjoy our new hymnal, Community of Christ Sings, and look forward to building new memories for the future. Will my life remind someone else of a hymn?
Prayer for Peace
Smiling God, hear us as we sing of Christ with joy. Bless us as we share Christ’s peace. Hear our testimonies and our prayers in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Spiritual Practice: Experience Congregations in Mission
Read and reflect on Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a–d. Reread the sentence, “If you truly would be Community of Christ, then embody and live the concerns and passion of Christ.” Make a list of the issues you feel mattered most to Christ. Make another list of issues that matter to your congregation. Reflect on the likenesses and differences. How can you help align the lists? Throughout the day, as issues arise, ask yourself, “Would this matter to Christ?”
Today, God, wherever your love and peace are not known, I will testify to their presence.