Tuesday, 5 July 2011

For Phyllis...

 There is hymn I love that I don't recall hearing as a child - you are probably wondering why this is unusual?...well, my earliest introduction into 'church' was a small brethren church, then we moved to a Baptist church, and then we moved to a large Pentecostal church and in addition to all of this I was educated in a musically centred Baptist school.  So hymns were part of my upbringing which I am ever thankful for, especially considering a large chunk of my church life has been spent within the walls of the Pentecostal church where hymns are rarely sung.   The fact is, I love what is known as the traditional hymn. I love the music, I love the words....the whole package in my opinion is a truly beautiful expression of worship, which more than often exclusively focuses on Gods might, His power and His love. 

Anyway, getting back to the topic...a few years back I first heard a beautiful hymn called 'There is a fountain' (covered by Selah) and the words are so beautiful...they ooze of such an authentic God encounter.  So, last week I decided to look up who wrote this beautiful hymn.  As it turns out, the author is none other than William Cowper.  Cowper is not known in history as a great orator, preacher or a revivalist - in fact, you've probably never heard of him!  To me, I simply knew him as a contributor to John Newtons 'Olney Hymns' and the author of John Giplin. As it turns out, after reading on wikipedia there is a lot more to Cowper than I realised.  He was crippled for most of his life with mental illness, disappointment and botched suicide attempts.  I bet my bottom dollar he died thinking he lived a quiet, inconsequential life.  However, the truth is his hymns are sung all around the world and have made a great impact on peoples lives.  Cowper probably never imagined in his wildest dreams that his struggles; his walk with God (in a nutshell: just life) would have such an everlasting effect on generations to come.

My point is that so many of us go about our days, to our jobs, to school or attending to our children and think that our actions are of no consequence, when the truth is that our struggles, our questions, our faith, our walk with God does indeed echo deep into the future and our footsteps after we die will be there for generations, evident for all to see.

You are important.  The smallest of actions you take have life changing outcomes that you will never have the pleasure of knowing until eternity. Do you sponsor a child?  Do you pick up a neighbours child so they can go to Sunday school? Have you smiled at someone?  Have you spoken words hope into someone?  Written a letter? Helped with the shopping? All of these things, while they may not seem life changing to you, nor make you feel you have such a 'grand' calling...they are all life changing for that person.  That support, that restored faith, that encouragement, that meal, that car trip, that smile, that prayer...

To listen to William Cowpers beautiful hymn, click here