Monday, July 28, 2008

Where the famous are laid


Westminster Abbey-the place where the famous are laid to rest

I don’t believe I have ever been in London but what I would visit the famous Westminster Abby because of the uniqueness of the place.

Westminster Abbey presents a pageant of British history – the shrine of St. Edward the Confessor, the tombs of kings and queens, and countless memorials to the famous and the great. It has been the setting for every British Coronation since 1066. Today it is still a church dedicated to regular worship and to the celebration of great events in the life of the nation.

This church became known as the “west minster” to distinguish it from St. Paul’s Cathedral (the east minster) in the City of London. Unfortunately, when the new church was consecrated on 28 December 1065 the King was too ill to attend and died a few days later. His mortal remains were entombed in front of the High Altar.

Westminster Abbey is dedicated to St Peter. In 1540 Henry VIII had designated the Abbey a cathedral with its own bishop and diocese. However when the bishopric was dissolved in 1550 and the church made a second cathedral in the diocese of London some lands belonging to the church were exchanged or sold off. Some of this money was used for the repair of (old) St. Paul’s cathedral, hence taking funds from St. Peter’s church to pay St Paul’s cathedral. Hence the origin of the phrase, “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

I have always been in awe with the many unusual buried designates. The reason is that the Abbey contains some 611 monuments which does not include the graves or memorial stones on the floor and wall tablets. It contains the most important collection of monumental sculpture anywhere in the country since well over three thousand people are buried there. Notable among these is the Unknown Warrior, whose grave, close to the west door, has become a place of pilgrimage. Over the exterior wall at the west door is the inscription, “MAY GOD GRANT TO THE LIVING GRACE TO THE DEPARTED REST TO THE CHURCH & THE WORLD PEACE AND CONCORD AND TO US SINNERS ETERNAL LIFE.”

Some of the more famous people buried in the Abbey are: Poets/writers: Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, John Dryden, Dr Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, Robert Browning, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Rudyard Kipling, John Masefield.
Scientists/engineers: Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Telford, Charles Darwin, Lord Kelvin, Ernest Rutherford, Sir J.J.Thomson. Musicians: George Frederic Handel, Henry Purcell, John Blow, Ralph Vaughan Williams. Actors: David Garrick, Sir Henry Irving, Dame Sybil Thorndike, Laurence Olivier. Architects: Robert Adam, Sir William Chambers, Sir Charles Barry, Sir George Gilbert Scott, George Edmund Street, Sir Herbert Baker. Politicians: William Pitt Earl of Chatham, William Pitt the Younger, Charles James Fox, William Ewart Gladstone, Ernest Bevin, Clement Attlee. Military/Naval/RAF: Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Field Marshal George Wade, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Admiral Thomas Cochrane, Lord Trenchard, Lord Dowding. Others: David Livingstone, Sir Rowland Hill, William Wilberforce, Baroness Burdett Coutts.

Still today, a daily pattern of worship is offered with services representative of a wide spread of interest and social concern, are held regularly. In 1965-66 the Abbey celebrated its 900th anniversary, taking as its theme ‘One People’. Such a theme seemed to be fitting for a church which, through a long history of involvement with the developing life of the British people, has become known throughout the world.

I have never yet been to the Abby but what I was able to sit and worship via a hymn or homily being given by a resident minister.

There are probably not many churches that enshrines as many as this one, but there is a place that will have a far greater number of noble people. They were probably not Kings or Queens or people of great position, but they will be esteemed above all but the name that is above every name.

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;” -- Philippians. 2:9-10



Sunday, July 20, 2008

ALL MY MUSIC TRAINING WAS WITH THEM

My remembrance of Rudiment Teachers

My family and background was of humble beginning with caring parents who attempted to direct my sister and me into things that would better us.

At times I wondered what would be the advantage or significance of some of those things. One such thing was attending gospel music rudiment schools that were conducted every year in our little church. Little did I know that the likes of some of these men would become famous as time would reward them.
Some of those rudiment teachers were men such as O.S. Sawrie, R. H. McNew, but those most known were Marvin P. Dalton who wrote two songs that today have filled churches throughout the country; namely, “O, What a Savior” and “Looking for a City.” Another was Luther G. Presley of Pangburn, Arkansas. No one would have dreamed that a local with Virgil O. Stamps would compose a famous melody in 1937 when Luther G. Presley penned the immortal lyrics at his rural Arkansas home in White County that would be sung around the English speaking world. Today anyone can sing a few lines of "When the Saints Go Marching In," or hum a few bars of the melody. Neither composer had the foggiest notion that their rousing, inspiring religious song would become a Dixieland standard - and later, the theme song of the New Orleans Saints football team. He received $5.00 for his lyrics, but that was only the beginning of royalty checks that have produced a good income continuing to this day.
A 1944 article in the Arkansas Democrat described Luther Presley as the state's most prolific songwriter. He composed the music or wrote the lyrics to hundreds of gospel songs - 1,500 or more.
His collection is now in the University of Central Arkansas where his daughter-in-law Cloie Presley, a county historian, was educated when the institution was still called Arkansas State Teachers College.
Leister Presley says his father also edited the gospel hit "The Great Speckled Bird," made famous by Roy Acuff at the Grand Ole Opry.
Luther Presley was born March 6, 1887, on Beckett Mountain in Faulkner County, five miles west of Rose Bud. He grew up with religious music at a Free Will Baptist church. At 14 he attended his first music school and began directing the church choir. He wrote his first song, "Gladly Sing," when he was 17.
A historical record from that church concerning a gospel meeting said of Mr. Presley. “Singer and well-known music composer Luther G. Presley conducted many of the song services during this session with such force that it touched the hearts and lives of all present. Preaching and singing held the congregation spellbound for three hours.”
Luther Presley's most famous song may have been "When the Saints Go Marching In," says Leister Presley, but his dad's favorite song was "I'd Rather Have Jesus" - composed after he had studied the parable of the rich man in the 12th chapter of Luke.
Besides Mr. Presley, I remember well the last teacher I will recall. He was Albert E. Brumley who wrote over 800 gospel and sentimental songs; Gospel Music Association named Mr. Brumley as one of only five persons in the United States whose contributions directly affected 20th century music; Brumley songs have been estimated to have been printed 15 million times in sheet music and songbooks; Brumley songs emulate country settings, ordinary country religion, simplicity and values--simplicity and naturalness was his music motto and philosophy. The Smithsonian Institute made a study of gospel music; researchers called Albert Brumley “the greatest white gospel songwriter before W.W.II.” Brumley music has been heard on practically every TV musical entertainment."

His education was little and his occupations consisted of being a cotton farmer,
piano tuner, singing school teacher, grocery store clerk, but became the author of I'll Fly Away which was published in 1932. In 1976 he received a trophy for "I'll Fly Away" as recognition of the song being the most recorded gospel song in history. In 1972 he was inducted into the SESAC Hall of Fame

He penned many other songs such as; Turn Your Radio On, I'll Meet You in the Morning, Jesus, Hold My Hand, If We Never Meet Again, I'm Bound For That City, I'd Rather Be An Old Time Christian, to name only a few that were recorded by the Chuck Wagon Gang, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Boston Pops Orchestra, Ray Stevens, Osborne Bros., Elvis Presley, Bill Monroe and countless others.

The history of this part of my past has been only a refection of my present – and the mirror of the future. The disdain I may have had as a teen is now a delight of what it influenced.

I did not realize at the time that these men were not only giving me something to live with, but they also gave me something to die with.

The third verse of Marvin Dalton’s famous song; “O What a Savior” says is best:

Death's chilly waters....I'll soon be crossing....
His hand will lead me safe o're..
I'll join the chorus....in that great city......
And sing up there forever more......

The Chorus:
O what a Savior....O hallelujah.....
His heart was broken on Calvary.....
His hands were nail scarred.......
His side was riven.....
He gave His life-blood for even me.....

And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. -- Psalm 40:3

Sunday, July 13, 2008

DON'T GET CAUGHT WITHOUT HIM

CLICK IT OR TICKET


On a recent trip to the new Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, I kept noticing digital display signs on the interstate with the words Click it or Ticket. After a number of these, I was wondering what that meant, because up until then I had not read anything about this, until I returned back to Farmington and found an enlightening article about this new government safety program.

My enlightenment increases the next morning, when I had left my dentist and was short cutting through to Wal-Mart. Since this was a short distance, I convinced myself that I didn’t need to put on my seat belt. What a surprise when I entered onto a side street and advanced into a convoy of police cars that were stopping cars from both directions. The officer in a business like manner said, “We are promoting the Click it or ticket campaign and since you don’t have on your belt please pull over into the lot over there where an officer will explain your offense.”

My next surprise was that the officer was one of many that attend our church. He began with, “Dr. Loveless, I hate giving you this ticket, but this is the law!” “Don’t feel bad, I am guilty,”I responded. After which he told me where to go to pay the ticket.

Feeling a little sheepish about the whole thing, I drove into the City Hall parking lot, and then walked down the long hallway, which parallels the courtroom, then to the window where I presented my last ten dollar bill. Now my next surprise came as the clerk, a gracious lady, looked at my ticket and read my name with this conclusion. “Aren’t you the fellow who writes those religious human interest stories in the Farmington Press”? Blushing, I weakly said, “Yes, I am.” She then said, “I just love to read your stories.”

As I departed, my embarrassments of the day and seeing the courtroom disappear behind me, were nearly gone. I related this to the fact that I was able to pay the fine, and the facing of this matter with friends, was a lot easier than a sentence we all owe as we stand before a holy God, whose laws are much greater than those of men. My money cannot pay the price, or the good words of my friends. The Bible is full of verses that let us know that we owe a debt that we cannot pay.

Titus 3:5
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

Only Christ can pay the redemption for a world that has broken the law of God. However, He loves us and has provided our way of escape.

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Now when I board my car – I click it! As for the other. I took care of that years ago as I gave my life to the greatest judge of all who said, “I forgive.”

Sunday, July 6, 2008

How Majestic is His Handiwork


The Wonder of His Handiwork was seen at the Matterhorn

We had traveled on the famous Swiss mountain railway from St. Moritz to Zermatt, a 7 ½ hour panoramic trip through the Alps in the heart of Switzerland. It is a railway journey across 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels and across the Oberalp Pass at 2’033 meters in altitude. The Glacier Express, as it is called, travels a beautiful route between the sights of the Graub√ľnden holiday region, central Switzerland, including Lake Lucerne and Lucerne itself, the sunny Valais region with its glacier landscape, and the beautiful regions of the South. You travel in comfort through the unspoiled natural beauty of a landscape rich in ancient, fragrant mountain forests, peaceful Alpine meadows, rushing mountain streams and mountain valleys, soaked in tradition and centuries-old culture.

After arriving in Zermatt, which is a town without cars, we were told to take a cogwheel train, called the Gornergrat Bahn, which takes you from the village up to the top of the 9,000 feet high Gornergrat.

The next day we began through aromatic stone pine and larch forests and across alpine meadows full of flowers until you arrive in the midst of 29 snow and ice-covered four-thousand-meter-high mountains including such famous greats as the Matterhorn (4478 m), Liskamm (4527 m) and Dufour-Spitze (4634 m). With the sun to our back the Matterhorn was a photographer’s delight. Glaciers abounded and we had a marvelous view of one a couple thousand feet under us. On a culinary level, the Gornergrat offers everything you could wish for. The Kulmhotel Gornergrat, the highest hotel in Europe at 3131 meters (one yard and 3 inches to a meter), and other restaurants located along the route treat you to the very best food.

The Matterhorn is a classic peak, a sharp, isolated rock pyramid with steep narrow ridges jutting from surrounding glaciers. Located in the Pennine Alps it spreads beyond Switzerland into Italy, this beautiful mountain is near the town of Zermatt, which is nestled beneath the mountain's north face, and is a mountaineering Mecca. At an elevation 14,691 feet, the Matterhorn is one of the most frequently climbed mountains in the world.

This day was one of the most beautiful days on our trip and the sun was bright with puffy clouds and a deep blue sky making the photos beautiful. My lingering thought for days was how majestic the mountains all about that area as seen from such a vantage point. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Only one place will be greater.

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” - Isaiah 2:2