view from my pew 3

Hello again to my growing internet fanbase. It’s Mr Grenville-Stubbs here again with another of my views from my pew.

Some of you will have heard of my highly successful late night radio show on our local radio station: Hymns On My Organ. I have had  my Hammond organ for 35 years and people write in with suggestions for me to play on it. It is one of my most prized possessions.

Lots of people ask for Amazing Grace or The Lord’s My Shepherd and while I am happy to play them occasionally I can’t play them every week. I prefer the really obscure suggestions, although some of the correspondence suggesting what to play on my organ baffles me because I have never heard of those hymns – I sometimes wonder whether people are having a joke at my expense.

organ

I suggest that if you do an internet search for ‘organ’ you exercise some caution!

I do struggle with some of the modern songs that we have to sing in our church. Some of them use romantic imagery about God that makes me feel quite uncomfortable. And others are so familiar with him – they lack reverence and awe. It doesn’t help that our Minister, Revd Philip Inneck-Tucker (or ‘Phil’ as he insists we call him) seems to think that we should repeat the same song twenty times*  so we can sing the words without thinking about them (really!!).

So you can imagine my surprise when I got a letter from ‘Phil’ asking me to play something in my show. At first I was suspicious but this is what he asked me to play:

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Refrain:
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Refrain
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Refrain
I had to look it up in Sacred Songs and Sea Shanties, as I had never heard of it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Phil wrote in his letter that it was based on Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms”. Apparently it was written in response to the news that the wives of two of the writer’s former pupils had died. Phil didn’t explain why he had asked for it but I played it on my show anyway.
The next Sunday when I saw Phil after the service he looked like he had tears in his eyes. When I offered my hand for the post-service formality he ignored it. I was shocked… and then he gave me a hug!

Well, I can tell you, we never got hugged by our previous Ministers!

Shame, really.

Q.R.Grenville Stubbs

Be blessed, be a blessing (as Nick likes to write)

*I might have exaggerated about the twenty times a little bit.

organic music

I feel the need for some church-related silliness. These actually happened: I was there (as a teenager).

organ pipesA church organist decided to play some more contemporary ‘voluntaries’ in the services and discovered that some enterprising Christians had written some lyrics for well-known tunes. Sadly, few people in the church knew of the worshipful lyrics, so when he began playing ‘O Sole Mio’ during the offering many people smiled and wondered why he was playing the music and some asked the stewards for ice creams. (O Sole Mio was used to advertise Cornettos at the time).

On another occasion during a parade service he played the Match of the Day theme (to which someone had written lyrics ‘I want to give my life to Jesus, my Saviour and my King…’), breaking into the worshipful atmosphere and causing much merriment among the Boys’ Brigade boys (of whom I was one).

The most memorable, however, was when he played the Largo from Dvorak’s New World Symphony during communion as the servers were taking the bread around. At the time that piece of music was the background to the adverts for Hovis bread. The pew-shaking and handkerchief-in-mouth-stuffing happened all over the church. Not the sense of reverence that was hoped for by the minister!

Be blessed, be a blessing (and don’t take yourself too seriously)