Monday, October 27, 2014


        Every time I walk into SPPC these days, I'm surprised by bags of pop cans and a few cases of empty wine bottles.
 Of course, I know the empties are part of our fund-raising efforts for the mission to Dominican Republic, but what would a stranger think?  SPPC knows how to party?  SPPC needs better janitorial services?
   I've also chuckled this week at my middle-class friend scouring the ditches for empty bottles.  Again, I know what she's up to but would her other acquaintances think she'd fallen on desperate times?  Should someone buy her a bag of groceries?

       For the past several weeks I've listened as the men of the Victoria Choral Society practiced a piece of music, out of context.
     "The Piper," composed by Tobin Stokes of Victoria,commemorates a tragic story from World War I.   A young piper, Jimmy Richardson, of the Canadian Scottish Regiment, played his pipes in full view of the enemy when his battalion's advance was stalled by a dense, barbed wire entanglement at the Battle of Ancre Heights in France. Encouraged by his example, the Battalion forced its way through the wire and made it to the their objective. 
Piper James Cleland Richardson

       Richardson also acted as a stretcher bearer.  After saving a wounded comrade, he returned to the field to recover his pipes. It was the last anyone saw of him.  Jimmy Richardson  disappeared into the mists of battle.  He was awarded the Victoria Cross, posthumously for "conspicuous bravery."
     It was believed his bagpipes had been lost in the mud but in 2002 they were found in Scotland. A British Army chaplain had found them and brought them home where they remained on display in a school where he taught.  The pipes were then returned to the Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary's).

     When I heard the men's chorus practice their part of Stokes' composition, the music was pleasant enough, but it had no meaning.  Now, I've been to the concert, and realized their part is wonderful, beautiful and  critical to the entire composition.  The men's chorus, the bagpiper, the timpanist -- they all played their individual parts but only the composer knew the whole.  Each musician had to play his part and trust the one who wrote it.

    Last week our nation witnessed tragic and senseless deaths in Ottawa and Quebec.  The news from Syria and N. Iraq tells of terrible persecution of Christians and others.  Ebola ravishes populations in West Africa.  We cry out our anguish and our sorrow.  We ask why?
     We can only trust  the Great Composer.  He alone knows the whole, he alone can weave our disparate parts into something beautiful and worthy and holy.

1 Cor. 13-12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

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