Singing hymns with “The Ancients” next door

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.

Psalm 25:4-5

Each evening it has become my routine (as part of getting dad ready for the night) to sit down at my parents’ piano and play a couple of hymns. There are several volumes I thumb through randomly, settling on hymns that are not only familiar, but easy to play (I am only prepared to go so far as four flats, or two sharps).

Monday evening I played “Teach Me Your Way” (Mansell Ramsey, 1919). I have not seen or heard this since I was a teen, but the melody came back easily and I played it through a couple of times.

Teach me Your way, O Lord,
  Teach me Your way;
Your guiding grace afford,
  Teach me Your way.
Help me to walk aright;
More by faith, less by sight;
Lead me with heavenly light,
  Teach me Your way.

“It’s a lovely hymn,” my mum said. “Please play the last verse.”

So I did, singing along, haltingly. But as I did I heard the words and they were too deep, too emotionally fraught, to apropos. My eyes filled up; the words stuck in my throat; I had to reach for my handkerchief.

Long as my life shall last,
  Teach me Your way;
Where’er my lot be cast,
  Teach me Your way.
Until the race is run,
Until the journey’s done,
Until the crown is won,
  Teach me Your way.

Eternal Truths:

What is it about the combination of words and music that tugs so at my heartstrings? Maybe the better question is, “What is it about eternal truth that speaks so clearly to my soul?”

Could it be that the reason these phrases – “until the race is done…” and “until the journey’s done..” and “until the crown is won…” – call to deep emotions is that they are rooted in deep truths?

I never wanted, or felt that I needed, a telephone that could also take photographs until I became aware that they existed. Likewise Rebekah did not give heated seats a thought until she experienced one in a friend’s new car on a cold winter’s day. The aroma of roast lamb and Yorkshire pudding only evokes sentiments of Sunday dinner with mum, dad, Geoff, and Lassie in Folkestone, England, because, once, that really was my home….

We do not want something, or yearn for it, or miss it unless it is first real, and we have first experienced it, or at least become aware of the fact of it. Likewise this yearning, this call from our spiritual home is in a sense a re-calling, an affirmation that one day – when the race is completed and journey is done – we will finally and in the most complete way possible, be home.

In my parents’ case, singing along as I play their piano, this is truth that almost glows with its own holy light.

Just a moment, please, I seem to have this need to dab my eyes….

Peace – DEREK


  1. I am often moved to tears when singing in church, hearing the angelic voice of the congregation as a whole and absorbing the touching words. It is rather embarrassing when it happens in church though. But what can you do? Just dab the eyes and cherish the moment in your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

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