Monday, March 17, 2008

Sing an Irish Ditty!

I love music and I love kids and the combination of the two is even better. One of my favorite songs that the children sing in our church's Primary organization (our church being The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the Primary organization is an organization for teaching the children about the gospel but it is oh so much more) is found in the Children's Songbook published by our church although it is a hymn used by little children who are not of our faith. In keeping with the Irish theme today I discovered that the writer of the hymn text, All Things Bright and Beautiful, is Irish. Cecil Frances Alexander was born in County Wicklow in 1818 and it is believed that she wrote the hymn text at Mark­ree Cas­tle, near Sli­go, Ire­land. With Spring around the corner, when little blossoms begin to appear, when the earth smells fresh after a rainstorm, I always think of this song. I was thinking this would be a fun springtime song to work on with Aedan and I found this suggestion.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the Effingham Branch, a small unit belonging to our church which is located in Effingham, about 70 miles south of where we live. I was there to attend their Branch Conference and to observe Primary there as part of my church responsibilities. There were two things that happened yesterday that stands out in my mind and that have something to do with my topic above. The first being that we sang the sacrament hymn, God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son, Hymn 187 of the hymnbook published by our church. Largely because of the way it is printed in the hymnbook and also due to time constraints, we end up only singing 3 out of the 5 verses. But yesterday we had the opportunity to sing all five and it was wonderful! From the book Our Latter-Day Hymns, Stories and Messages of the Hymns it describes the message, "First, the attention is on the Savior's mission - not only his mission of atonement but also that of teaching and showing an example. Then the focus turns to our responsibility: we must repay God's great love through bending our will to his". I wish we could sing additional verses of a lot of hymns and when I really pay attention to the message of a given hymn and when we don't sing the full song, I feel like something is missing or a thought was left unfinished. I suppose it should be my own responsibility to continue reading to get the most out of it - the extra verses wouldn't be included in our hymnbook if they didn't have any significance.
The second thing that stood out to me yesterday was during Primary, one child in particular who has been struggling transitioning into Primary (due to sensory disorder and delayed maturity issues) sang along to the song If the Savior Stood Beside Me, and he did so with such enthusiam that it just amazed me! I've never seen him sing along before and for some reason, he really got excited about this song. He then gave his first talk and started out by saying, "I want to talk to you about Jesus, ok guys?" and proceeded to tell us about how Jesus stopped the storm and saved the diciples in the boat, his favorite story about Jesus apparently. The Effingham Primary has many things to be proud of but this one takes the cake! What a wonderful thing to see the kids learning and sharing their testimonies of the Savior through song and word at such a young age!

1 comment:

  1. Fun post :) My mind keeps wanting to rewrite that new Primary song to be "If the Savior came to your house, would he do the things you do?" I know that's weird. Hmm... I'll just sing quietly in the back of the room next week :)


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