Saturday, April 02, 2016

Three ‘Loves’ – Desires of the Heart by Peter A. Black

Lately I realized that three longstanding ‘loves’ in my life have received continuing avenues of expression, even into my wife May’s and my retirement years. We can hardly keep up with it all.

Music making, both vocal and instrumental, has been virtually life-long for me. The interest was awakened when, as a three year-old, I got my first harmonica.

Creative writing, while showing an early start in elementary school, blossomed during the second half of my pastoral service years.  

Pastoral care and sharing of the message of redeeming love and life in Jesus Christ, in the joy and peace of His grace, budded during my teens through engagement in Sunday school teaching, music and witness teams.

These three ‘loves’ in some measure found outlets in two successive careers spanning fifty years till retirement (the music instrument servicing industry and pastoral service). However, they continue to find avenues of expression today in various volunteer and pulpit supply settings.

Recently, during a pastor friend’s hospitalization and recovery my wife and I had the privilege of ministering to his rural Baptist congregation (we’re often involved there, musically). On 
Rotunda. St Paul's, T'burg, Ont.
 Easter Sunday we were at a United Church, St. Paul’s (its beautiful sanctuary is a favourite of mine), where the choir presented one of my compositions – an Easter anthem – and I sang "The Holy City." 

Front. St Paul's UC, Tillsonburg, Ont.

More than a decade ago I had that anthem and another piece arranged by Joy Brown, a Toronto area arranger and accompanist.  I’d hoped to have her arrange several other inspirational compositions, but didn’t get around to it.

St. Paul's UC

Instead, since then, the writing occupied available time, finance and creative focus, resulting in publishing two books and hundreds of newspaper columns and a number of magazine articles.
The other arranged piece – an ode to Canada, with Christian motifs – may be presented by St. Paul’s in June of this year. Its original form was written for a Canada Day celebration almost two decades ago.

How grateful and blessed I am to experience, even with limited and jaded abilities, avenues for expressing those three loves that have been woven into the gift-mix and fabric of much of my life.
Jaded? Faded? Maybe, yet it often feels a lot like spring!

Our Heavenly Father has seen fit to grant the desires He has placed in my heart (Psalm 37:4-5) regarding that threesome. The day will come when one thing or the other will be laid to rest, and so will I.

The Lord has given, and the Lord has the prerogative to take away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Snapshots of St, Paul's UC, taken by the author.
Peter, now retired from fulltime pastoral service, is an author, inspirational columnist and songwriter living in Southwestern Ontario. He enjoys singing and playing sacred music and praise songs – especially for his friends in a number of residential care facilities and in area congregations.
~ Raise Your Gaze ... Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart
~ Parables from the Pond



Lux G. said...

Feels a lot like spring indeed. :)
Hope you enjoy this season.

Rose McCormick Brandon said...

Beautiful words, Peter. I love that God has led you beyond denominational boundaries into a full life of service.

Peter Black said...

Thank you, Rose. Decades ago I came to the realization that it was incumbent upon me to recognize and acknowledge the Body of Christ wherever it is represented, for as Apostle Paul says, "... God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: the Lord knows those who are his, and, 'Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness'" (2 Tim. 2:19).
It's been wonderful to see people's faces lighting up with joy. ~~+~~

Glynis said...

I agree, Peter! the Body of Christ is where He plants and so it is definitely up to us to bloom and help others bloom (where the Good Lord chooses to plant us!)
And you play the harmonica? I would love to hear that? I can play a few tunes by ear. When I am alone, by the way!

Peter Black said...

I smile. Glynis, I'm no harmonica virtuoso. When I was about 12 or thirteen I had two chromatic harmonicas (nice instruments), and over the years had others (although I never got around to acquiring or trying a pitch-bending 'blues' harmonica). What I have now is a small dollar store "made in China" thingy (cost a dollar about 12 years ago). I've used it once in a while to illustrate a point about talents and spiritual gifts. I've tackled numerous instruments over the years, but nowadays mostly stick with piano, accordion and organ (I'm predominantly an instinctual player, and a poor sight-reader).
Ensure that you keep making music, yourself, no matter how humble you think your efforts are. Humble effort is good! :) ~~+~~

Ruth Smith Meyer said...

My heart resounds in echo to your 'loves,' and I too find most of the out-let for those in the body of Christ--the church. Unlike you, I never had arrangements made of the music in my heart and sometimes jotted down on paper. I'd love to hear your Easter Anthem--or perhaps be able to sing it. Is it available for other choirs? The harmonica is the only musical instrument that I've mastered enough to enjoy playing. My grandmother taught me how to play the first song after I got one for Christmas. I still love playing it around the house. Thank you for stimulating my thinking and giving me impetus to carry on.

Peter Black said...

The humble harmonica is a wonderful instrument for bringing out one's latent musicality, whether one has a dollar store version, such as mine, or one that costs hundreds of dollars. One of my pastor friends is a harmonica collector and has about 1,200 of them (his collection was featured on *Slice* TV a year or two ago).
Regarding the anthem. It really is a quite a simple piece, and even the arrangement and accompaniment are not too difficult. The original version as I wrote it was structured in roundelay form and sung a capella. The choir members enjoyed the experience of the arranged version. And yes, I could make either version available to you. I'll be in touch. ~~+~~

Carolyn R. Wilker said...

Peter, now I want to hear you play harmonica and sing, but not both at once. ;) Thank you for a well-tuned piece.

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