Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Covenant blessings

My parents were married on September 18th, 1947. When my mother was expecting her first child she made a baptismal gown from fabric of her wedding dress. My eldest sister, Joanna, was dressed in it when she was baptized in 1948, as were the following five children, I being the last in 1958. At some point our family lost track of the gown. It was hanging in the closet of someone belonging to our tribe, but it was forgotten. My mother sewed six baptismal gowns for each of her children when they were expecting their first baby, and many of the grandchildren were dressed in these gowns for their baptisms.

Recently, the original gown showed up! Yesterday it was used again for the first time since my baptism 58 years ago. Isaiah Smith, my great-nephew, grandson of Joanna, my eldest sister, and the newest baby of our tribe, was baptized wearing the gown. As his parents belong to my congregation, I had the honour of administering the baptism.

Of course, the most important thing was that the sign and seal of God's covenant promises were confirmed to Isaiah, but that he was wearing the gown that I had worn, that his grandmother had worn, and that his great-grandmother, my mother, had fashioned from her wedding dress, added a special element to it all.
Baptism of Isaiah Smith, July 31, 2016 at Jubilee Church, Ottawa

Saturday, July 02, 2016

The Prayer of Jehoshaphat

Here is a hymn I wrote based on 2 Chronicles 20. Stanza 1 relates how King Jehoshaphat reminds the Lord about what he, mighty God, had all done for his people in the past. In stanza 2 the king prays about how Judah was being oppressed by enemy hordes. In the first part of stanza 3 the LORD declares that the battle is his, not the people's; in the second half God's people resoundingly praise the LORD.

Here's a link to the rest of my songs.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Heart heavy yet joyful

With a heaviness of heart, and yet joyful in the Lord, I should mention that the consistory of Jubilee Canadian Reformed Church, Ottawa, has granted me the status of minister emeritus, as of Sept. 1, 2016. This decision of consistory, made upon my request and the advice of my physician due to my declining health, was approbated by last Thursday's Classis Ontario Central and the deputies of Regional Synod East.

At classis my good friend, the Rev. Peter Feenstra, encouraged me with the following words of the Prophet Isaiah, ch. 43:

1 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

That precious gospel is Dora's and my comfort and joy.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Victoria Day! God Save the Queen!

Today is Victoria Day across Canada. We celebrated it last night, appropriately with fireworks, at the rural home of someone of our congregation. Thanks David and Melissa, and Mike, our resident pryrothechnician!

This morning on CBC we heard the Overture of Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks. Always impressive.

Queen Victoria
Queen Elizabeth II

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Task is finished

http://bookofpraise.ca/images/StandardEdition.pngAfter fifteen years serving as chairman of the Book of Praise Committee, I completed my term this past Friday--in fact, more than my term. A normal time on a Canadian Reformed synodical committee is nine years, but since we were in the midst of a large project in 2007, revamping and augmenting our songbook, it was felt that I should stay on an extra six years. I loved the work! I laboured beside wonderful brothers and sisters, and experienced only kindness, good cooperation, generosity, and mutual respect. 

We also worked for a number of years with our URCNA counterparts and were well on our way to proposing a hymn section for the "Common Songbook" to our respective synods. However, a few synods back, the URCNA changed direction and began working with the OPC instead. We were saddened by that, but I wish them well as they work to produce the "Trinity Psalter Hymnal." I look forward to seeing the final product.

I pray God may be with the current committee, and may the Book of Praise be used weekly and daily in church, school, and home to help God's people praise the Lord with psalm and hymn!