Great is Thy Faithfulness

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations:22-24

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playing at fpcBrandon

This morning, at WFPCs 9:00 Praise Service, I’ll be playing guitar while the elders serve the communion elements.

This is a great privilege for me. Communion is one of those times where I always have high expectations, and I am never disappointed. I believe – and experience – that “the communion of the saints” is more than just a catchy phrase, it’s something that actually occurs.

When I take the bread and the wine I am literally sharing it with not only our congregation here in Wake Forest, but also our friends in Brandon, and at Trinity Presbyterian in Pensacola; I’m participating in one body with the members of Wake Forest Baptist Church, with the Disciples of Christ, with the Episcopalian community, with the Lutherans, with Methodists all around Raleigh, and with my brothers and sisters at Trinity MCC in Sarasota; I’m sharing The Lord’s Supper with Naomi and Craig in Richmond, with Andrew and Alicia in Italy, and with loved-ones all over the world.

Not only that, but in this supper, this celebration of love and grace, I’m also sipping from the same cup as my late brother, Geoff, Rebekah’s mamma, Nell, and her dad, Bob, as well as generations of believers who have preceded us in death.

GUITAR & PIANO: In Brandon it was my communion tradition to play guitar along with my friend Mark Prater, who played piano. We’d take a simply hymn, reduce it to a handful of chords, then elaborate on the essential outline as the Spirit led us along.

It was a real treat to play with Mark, because he was exceptionally sensitive to both God’s leading and my guitar playing quirks. The result, always, was a rendering that both honored God and helped the congregation to experience the presence of God in the passing of grace.

Today I’m playing Great is Thy Faithfulness, the traditional hymn written by Thomas Chisholm (words) and William Runyan (music). May the sentiments of this wonderful prayer be your experience in church today:

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

(Refrain):
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

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Blessings be on each one of us – and ten thousand beside – DEREK 

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