Posted by: Sherry Goodwin | August 7, 2009

THE MINISTRY OF SONG.

IN God’s great field of labour
   All work is not the same;
He hath a service for each one
   Who loves His holy name.
And you, to whom the secrets
    Of all sweet sounds are known,
Rise up!  for He hath called you
   To a mission of your own.
And, rightly to fulfil it,
   His grace can make you strong,
Who to your charge hath given
   The Ministry of Song.

Sing to the little children,
   And they will listen well;
Sing grand and holy music,
   For they can feel its spell.
Tell them the tale of Jephthah;
   Then sing them what he said,–
‘Deeper and deeper still,’ and watch
   How the little cheek grows red,
And the litttle breath comes quicker:
   They will ne’er forget the tale,
Which the song has fastened surely,
   As with a golden nail.

I remember, late one evening,
   How the music stopped, for, hark!
Charlie’s nursery door was open,
   He was calling in the dark,–
‘Oh no! I am not frightened,
   And I do not want a light;
But I cannot sleep for thinking
   Of the song you sang last night.
Something about a “valley,”
   And “make rough places plain,”
And “Comfort ye;” so beautiful!
   Oh, sing it me again!’

Sing at the cottage bedside;
   They have no music there,
And the voice of praise is silent
   After the voice of prayer.
Sing of the gentle Saviour
    In the simplest hymns you know,
And the pain-dimmed eye will brighten
    As the soothing verses flow
Better than loudest plaudits
   The murmured thanks of such,
For the King will stoop to crown them
   With His gracious ‘Inasmuch.’

Sing, where the full-toned organ
   Resounds through aisle and nave,
And the choral praise ascendeth
    In concord sweet and grave.
Sing, where the village voices
   Fall harshly on your ear;
And, while more earnestly you join,
   Less discord you will hear.
The noblest and the humblest
   Alike are ‘common praise,’
And not for human ear alone
   The psalm and hymn we raise.

Sing in the deepening twilight,
   When the shadow of eve is nigh.
And her purple and golden pinions
   Fold o’er the western sky.
Sing in the silver silence,
   While the first moonbeams fall;
So shall your power be greater
   Over the hearts of all.
Sing till you bear them with you
   Into a holy calm,
And the sacred tones have scattered
   Manna, and myrrh, and balm.

Sing!  that your song may gladden;
   Sing like the happy rills,
Leaping in sparkling blessing
   Fresh from the breezy hills.
Sing!  that your song may silence
   The folly and the jest,
And the ‘idle word’ be banished
   As an unwelcome guest.
Sing!  that your song may echo
   After the strain is past,
A link of the love-wrought cable
   That holds some vessel fast.

Sing to the tired and anxious;
   It is yours to fling a ray,
Passing indeed, but cheering,
   Across the rugged way.
Sing to God’s holy servants,
   Weary with loving toil,
Spent with their faithful labour
   On oft ungrateful soil.
The chalice of your music
   All reverently bear,
For with the bless`ed angels
   Such ministry you share.

When you long to bear the Message
   Home to some troubled breast,
Then sing with loving fervour,
   ‘Come unto Him, and rest.’
Or would you whisper comfort,
   Where words bring no relief,
Sing how ‘He was despis`ed,
   Acquainted with our grief.’
And, aided by His blessing,
   The song may win its way
While speech had no admittance,
   And change the night to day.

Sing, when His mighty mercies
   And marvellous love you feel,
And the deep joy of gratitude
   Springs freshly as you kneel;
When words, like morning starlight,
   Melt powerless,–rise and sing!
And bring your sweetest music
   To Him, your gracious King.
Pour out your song before Him
   To whom our best is due;
Remember, He who hears our prayer
   Will hear your praises too.

Sing on in grateful gladness!
   Rejoice in this good thing
Which the Lord thy God hath given thee,
   The happy power to sing.
But yield to Him, the Sovereign,
   To whom all gifts belong,
In fullest consecration,
   Your Ministry of Song.
Until His mercy grant you,
   That resurrection voice,
Whose only ministry shall be,
   To praise Him and rejoice.
  
Frances Ridley Havergal from THE MINISTRY OF SONG

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