Monday, January 31, 2011

Music Without Words, Words Without Music

 by Joan Larsen

    When I was in high school, our class had an excellent English-Literature teacher.  How we managed to get such a good teacher in our small hamlet is beyond me as we were not known as "The Big Apple"----POPULATION 503
     For every line that Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Blake and Coleridge wrote, my teacher had six or seven lines of explanation. She made the poetry so exciting that we just could not get enough of it.This teacher started me on my lifelong love of poetry
     Poetry and music are very similar. They both have a sense of RHYTHM, EXPRESSION and EMOTION.  Songs have to be rhythmic, and poetry flows in the same manner.  Music without words is poetry.  Felix Mendelssohn composed eight volumes of Songs Without Words. Poetry uses words to express feeling, and music uses notes. All in all, music is poetry and expression of the soul.
     Our class had to memorize many poems and one of my favorites is THE DAFFODILS by WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

The book of Psalms in the old testament of "THE HOLY BIBLE" is both poetry and prayer, poetry to be set to music, and prayed in worship. Some of the examples of psalms set to music are"Unto the hills'---Ps121, "The Lord 's my Shepherd"----Ps23, "O come and let us sing unto the Lord" ---Ps95 and there are many others.
The psalms are the prayers and praises of Gods people, preserved by the community of faith.

God Bless

Joan Larsen is the former accompanist for the Living Flame (Children's Choir),and often played for your blogmistress in recital.  Her love of music shines through her worship and her contribution to our weekly Bible Study.  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Take a Hike

By Paul Bingham

Need help keeping that New Year's Resolution to be more physically active?  Like to walk?   Like company?  Then SPPC's All Weather Walkers may be just the group for you.

Our schedule of group walks for 2011 is now complete and can be found at thecalendar on the SPPC website or in the Sunday bulletin.  Walks are usually held on the first and third Saturday of each month, beginning  at 9:30 am.  A listing of the dates and locations of the 23 walks planned for the year is available from the church office.
      The next two walks  are:
January 22- Meet at the Bingham’s house (1903 Sandover Cr., North Saanich) walk south on the new trail from Dean Park to Saanichton, and return the same route.  Coffee will be at the Bingham's house after the walk.

February 8 – Meet at the Brentwood Bay ferry terminal at the foot of Verdier Ave
in Brentwood Bay.
We will walk north on the short oceanfront path beside Seahorses
Restaurant and then south around the bay to Port Royal Estates.
Coffee location to be decided
Everyone is welcome – we hope you will join us.

    This group has been active for 17 years and has a compendium of over 40 walks, including such favourites as Swan Lake/Galloping Goose, Elk Lake, Lochside Trail and the Saanich Centennial Trail, Coles Bay, Island View Beach, Cedar Hill Gold Course, Blenkinsop Trail and Brentwood Bay.  Allwalks are about an hour long and are followed by coffee at a convenient cafĂ© or the home of one of the walkers.
    New walkers always welcome.  Join us for one walk or all of them.  Your body and your spirit will be refreshed.

Monday, January 17, 2011

What do you know?

    By Alice Valdal
     A recent study by the Pew Foundation  in the United States has generated a lot of commentary among Christians and non-believers alike.  In brief, the study claimed that atheists and agnostics scored higher on religious knowledge than mainline Protestants.  Out of 32 questions, the average American got 16 right, mainline Protestants scored 15.8  and atheists and agnostics averaged 20.9 correct responses.  Of course, one could argue that the questions concerned world religions more than Christian knowledge, or that scoring high on a quiz doesn't equate to living a faithful life, but the statistics do challenge us to examine the basis of our beliefs. 
        Beginning Wednesday, January 19, 9:30 am and/or 7:30 pm SPPC invites you to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the Bible, the written foundation of the faith we profess.  Irwin and Edna will lead us in a study of Romans, a book described by Martin Luther as "the most important piece in the New Testament.  We will use John Stott's study guide, "Romans: Encountering the Gospel's Power" as a starting point for our discussions. 
     The course may not help you score well on a Bible trivia quiz, but it is guaranteed to bring you into fellowship and discussion with fellow Christians seeking to know God.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Edna in New Zealand

Memories of New Zealand

Edna Kirk

A few years ago, after my husband retired from ministry, we had the opportunity on two occasions to go and work in churches in New Zealand. We spent 5 months in Central Southland Presbyterian Parish in Winton and six months in St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Invercargill. These were wonderful experiences among the warm-hearted people of Southland. In Winton we even had a “fairy” that delivered freshly baked bread and jam to our back door!
Being in a sheep farming area we were taken to see sheep being shorn and lambs being born. (Even though I was a midwife I wimped out at doing a delivery!!) As one saw Robin caring for his thousands of sheep one could not help thinking of the “Good Shepherd”. The sheep did not have names but they were individually known by the shepherd which was amazing. We also learnt that sheep cannot drink flowing water and would even die of thirst. That brought to mind the 23rd Psalm “He leads me beside still waters”.
New Zealand is a  beautiful country with very friendly people and it is now possible to fly direct to Auckland from Vancouver. We particularly enjoyed the South Island which made us think of our own Island and as  Butchart Gardens are known wherever you go in the world  we have had a number of the folk from Southland visit them with us.
Memories are made of this.

Edna Kirk enriches our fellowship at SPPC, often leads Bible Study and sometimes sings in the choir.  She also leads the Grief and Loss Support group.

Monday, January 3, 2011

On the shelf

by Alice Valdal

Did you get a new book for Christmas?  In my house, that in-between-time at the end of December and the beginning of January is often filled with reading.  Since I try to eliminate something old when I bring something new into the house, the treasure trove of new books, means a purge of the bookshelf -- and that can mean trouble.  Most of what's left on my shelves falls into the "keeper" category.  Can I part with these old friends?  Replace well-thumbed reference books with a click of the mouse?  I like my books.  I like the feel and smell and weight of them.  Clearing a bookshelf is like examining my soul.
My shelf includes several copies of the Bible, a dictionary, a thesaurus, a Bartlett's Quotations, the Oxford Book of Canadian Verse. I've a complete set of Shakespeare's works and two copies of Christ and the Fine Arts. The latter has more sentimental value than practical application, but my bookshelf is large enough to accommodate memories.
I've several books by L.M. Montgomery, I fell in love with Anne of Green Gables at an early age. Lloyd C. Douglas and Taylor Caldwell are also there. They may be out of date, but I find those two authors write gripping stories with a strong Christian message that resonates with me.  Jan Karon's Mitford stories bring a smile.
Stewart McLean and his Vinyl Cafe stories are among my keepers. McLean's writing is witty and entertaining, but there is a profound kindness in his stories that makes them worth reading over and over. W.O. Mitchell's Who has Seen the Wind as well as his Jake and the Kid stories are perennial favourites. Alice Munro is on my shelf because she captures the essence of being a girl growing up in Ontario.  The list is long, but that's a start. 

So here's my question.  What's on your keeper shelf? In the age of e-books, print-on-demand and mass-market paperbacks, what books spoke so strongly to you that they remain on your shelf, even after you've done a purge and carted a load of tomes to the thrift shop?  As you've changed jobs, gone away to school, moved house, and developed new interests, what books, worn and tattered, still grace your keeper shelf?
Alice Valdal sings in the choir at SPPC, directs the Living Flame, loves to read and, so far, prefers paper to electronic books.