Blessed Assurance

We sang Blessed Assurance as our opening song at church yesterday. Rich four-part a cappella harmonies, the swelling chorus, and the realities of life all combined to make the song a highlight of my entire worship service.

Give me a good hymn or song in a Sunday worship service, and it can carry me through the week. As author Fanny Crosby wrote in 1873, “this is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.”

We sang Blessed Assurance from the 2020 Voices Together hymnal. I was glad to see guitar chords added. I played the chords, and they work nicely with the tune. The editors changed one word in Crosby’s public domain hymn, which helps the text, I think.

May we rest this week on God’s blessed assurances. I will sing of God’s story in my life, accepting the heavenly delights of good music to give me a “foretaste of glory divine.”

Red Wing Roots Music Festival

My wife and I attended the Red Eighth Annual Wing Roots Music Festival Friday, July 9, 2021, in Mt. Solon, Virginia. It was fun to hear the Steel Wheels and other bands, many of whom hadn’t played live performances since before the pandemic began. Here, Trent Wagler and the Steel Wheels open the show.

Little North Mountain

Hiked the mountain just west of Sparkling Springs, Rockingham County, Va., on March 21, 2021, with friends. Great exercise, a fabulous view of the Shenandoah Valley below, and good company climbing and descending the steep mountain.

Lincoln’s Legacy

Just over four years ago, I served as one of the Eastern Mennonite High School faculty sponsors on a trip with over forty of our seniors to Washington, D.C. For three days in October 2016, students and teachers toured the capital. A highlight of the trip was visiting the Lincoln Memorial, seen here with my students. I like this photo because the future belongs to them. Lincoln called for and wrote about unity in the country, and he wrote that a country divided against itself cannot long stand. While Lincoln had his faults, he nevertheless continues to inspire me to work toward unity in this country.

Lucy F. Simms

The grave marker for Lucy F. Simms (1856-1934) in the Newtown Cemetery, Harrisonburg, Va. Lucy Simms taught school in Harrisonburg for 58 years without missing a day. Lucy Simms was born into slavery, made her way to Hampton Institute for her training, and then taught three generations of students in Newtown, in the northeast section of Harrisonburg. After reading a new biography about Lucy Simms, I decided to pay my respects to this long-term and highly respected educator.