Archive for the ‘Rutherglen’ Category

I was recently given a CD which had been created from a old tape recording of Rutherglen Citadel Songsters when they visited Southend Citadel on Sunday 2 June 1991, having been part of the massed songsters at the Royal Albert Hall the previous evening.

The first thing to say is it maybe wasn’t the best quality recording having been transferred from an old tape to a CD, however it was great to sit back, close my eyes and think back to the memories I have of that wonderful weekend, as well as remember those family and friends who were with us that weekend, who sadly are no longer with us.

I was songster pianist at that time, so it was quite interesting to hear the songsters, and me accompanying them, as I’m not sure I’ve heard myself accompanying the songsters before. As I listened to the recording I was reminded when the songsters started to sing one particular song, that as well as songster pianist I was also deputy songster leader at that time too. Here’s the Ladies voices singing Wonderful under my leadership:

As well as bringing back lovely memories of a great weekend, I was also reminded that there were a number of family and friends who were with us that weekend, who sadly are no longer with us. I was also reminded just how busy a life I had in the Army then too with three meetings on a Sunday plus open airs and helping in the Sunday School, as well as all the mid-week practices and many events that the various sections took part in locally as well as further afield. Being songster pianist and deputy songster leader, I also had additional practice and preparation to do for practices/meetings. So much so I now wonder where I got all the time to do all this, as I was working full-time!

Life most definitely was much busier for me in terms of my time/involvement at the Army in those days, but that doesn’t mean that these days my love of God is any less these days just because I’m maybe less involved and spend less time at the Army these days.

A lot has happened in my life in the 27 years since Rutherglen songsters visited Southend Citadel, and I’m the sure will be the case for you too. But is your love of God stronger today than it was 27 years ago, or have you turned away from God in that time?

Maybe today is the day to remember all God has done, and continues to do for you, and rekindle that love of God by reminding His power –  I Seek The Power which we sang during our visit to Southend Citadel in 1991, is one of my favourite song, and it’s message then is just as relevant today as it was then:

Then many of the Jewish leaders who heard him say these things began believing him to be the Messiah. Jesus said to them, “You are truly my disciples if you live as I tell you to, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:31-32 TLB

This was the bible verses listed as ‘Verse of the day’ on BibleGateway.com on Monday of this week. So why am I telling you this? On Sunday at our corps (church) it was our Vision and Commitment Sunday. During which we were asked to make a new commitment to be God’s disciple, and Monday’s verse of the day fitted perfectly with the discipleship promise we made on Sunday:

N.B. Although the photo above shows I’ve not signed my commitment, I have signed a copy of this commitment.

I made a public commitment to serve God all life a number of years ago, when I was commissioned as a senior soldier at Rutherglen Salvation Army. During that service, the singing company (junior choir) sang a song which I choose as it was special to me, Lord, Thou Art Questioning.

I’ve committed to be God’s disciple every day and in all I do, have you?

Here’s a beautiful band arrangement of that song. I’ve listed the words of the song below also so you can follow them.

Lord, thou art questioning: Lovest thou me?

Yea, Lord, thou knowest, my answer must be;

But since love’s value is proved by love’s test,

Jesus, I’ll give thee the dearest and best.

Chorus

All in my heart, Lord, thou canst read;

Master, thou knowest I love thee indeed.

Ask what thou wilt my devotion to test,

I will surrender the dearest and best.

How couldst thou smile on me if, in my heart,

I were unwilling from treasures to part?

Since my redemption cost thee such a price,

Utmost surrender alone will suffice.

Down at thy feet all my fears I let go,

Back on thy strength all my weakness I throw;

Lord, in my life thou shalt have thine own way,

Speak but the word, and thy child will obey.

On 6th September, one year ago today, we were awoken before 7am by my mobile phone ringing. When your phone goes before 7am on a Sunday morning, you know there’s a problem, and sure enough, that day was no problem – It was the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice calling to tell me my Mum had deteriorated and that I should come in. Sadly despite out best efforts, Mum passed away before we got to her.

Mum vickis weddingWell it might be a year since Mum died but it still feels like just yesterday in many ways – Where has this last year gone!

There’s so many things I now wish I’d talked to Mum about, told her or done for her, but it’s too late now. I still find myself thinking I’ll just phone Mum and tell her such and such…and then I stop myself…

There’s so much more I wish I could say about Mum today, but even one year on, it’s still too hard for me to do so. So I simply want to say this, Mum I never told you often enough when you were here how much I loved you, and how much I appreciated all you taught me about life and God.

Mum was a Christian, and was proud have been brought up in the Salvation Army where she served God all her days. This song reminds me of Mum and her strong faith, and I simply pray I too can keep my promise to God, to serve Him all my days.

Bereavement affects us all at some point in our lives and we get through it in different ways; some seem to cope as if nothing has happened, others struggle to cope; some find it easy to take about their loss, others prefer the quietness and reassurance of their own memories. However we cope when someone we love passes away, we are grieving and it’s important to give ourselves time to grieve and not expect life just to carry on as normal for as, as our lives will never be the same again after a loved one dies.

So today, and every day, I remember my Mum, Margaret Jackson Watson Johnson nee Gilchrist (27/9/1931 – 6/9/2015) – I miss you so much, you’re never far from my mind and I will always love you.

I always think the word obedience sounds very strict suggesting if we don’t obey there will be severe consequences. That sounds scary doesn’t it? However when it comes to obeying God’s will for our lives, there’s no need to be scared because obeying Him simply means following Him and giving Him your heart.

A number of years ago when I was songster accompanist at Rutherglen Salvation Army, there was a song called Obedience which became very special to me:

Lord I hear you knocking
Hear your voice appealing
Open the door of your heart
Let me enter in and
Take a centre of your life
Controlling every part

Come follow me on the way of the cross
This is the moment you must start

Chorus:
Lord I respond to your claims on my life
With obedience to that you will ask
Lord, knowing you in the way of the cross
This will be my task

Lord I know you’re prompting
Know your spirit surging
Be my desire for today
Make my will your choice and
Meet no other voice
That calls to walk another way

Come follow me on the way of the cross
This is the moment to obey

Chorus:
Lord I respond to your claims on my life
With obedience to that you will ask
Lord, knowing you in the way of the cross
This will be my task

Lord I know your presence
Be your call to service
Be what you want me to be
Serve and to your brothers
Give your life for others
As I do at Calvary

Come follow me on the way of the cross
This is the moment to be free

Chorus:
Lord I respond to your claims on my life
With obedience to that you will ask
Lord, knowing you in the way of the cross
This will be my task

Your cross, my task

I hope you enjoy the following video of Chelmsford Citadel songsters singing Obedience, and I hope you are blessed by the message:

 

It’s been a very sad day today as we said a final farewell to my Mum

Margaret Jackson Watson Johnson (nee Gilchrist)

27/09/1931 – 06/09/2015

Mum 70th

I had hoped to write a tribute to my Mum today, but I’m afraid it’s just too soon for me to be able to write anything that would do my Mum justice, so I’ll save my thoughts for another day once we get back to some kind of normality (whatever that means!).

So today, I simply want to express my gratitude to everyone who has offered support and love to us during these very difficult days by phoning, visiting in person or by sending us cards or flowers. You will never know just how much your support has meant to us.

To those of you who have helped us get everything sorted out for the funeral today and helped with the funeral itself, a huge thank you.

To the many of you who shared with us today at Rutherglen Salvation Army and then at the cemetery before returning to Rutherglen Salvation Army for refreshments, thank you for taking the time to support us on this most difficult of days, we really did appreciate it.

Mum never liked making a fuss about anything, so I’m sure she would have been embarrassed by the number of people who came to say farewell to her today, as well as by all that was said about her. However, to me it simply shows how well-respected my Mum was and the huge impact and influence she had on many, none more so than on me!

Mum’s family have been a part of Rutherglen Salvation Army since the Salvation Army first started in Rutherglen, and Mum has been a soldier there for many years, so it was fitting we celebrated her life there before we laid her in her final resting place. Mum loved Salvation Army music abd she loved a “good old army march“, but as a member of the songsters (adult singing group) for many years she also loved singing. One of her favourite songs was Jesus Thou Art Everything To Me as it was also her testimony. So for you today Mum, here’s your testimony in song:

Mum you’re now at rest, and I believe you have been reunited with Dad. I miss you and Dad so much, and I will love and remember you both forever.

Rest in peace Mum xxx

Mum 1952

God, we will give you Glory
For God you can answer prayer

This last weekend I was privileged to hear the ISS (The International Staff Songsters of the Salvation Army) on the Saturday night and Sunday afternoon during their visit to Rutherglen Salvation Army as part of their 125th anniversary celebrations.

It was a fabulous weekend, and I’m sure those who attended, were blessing and challenged by the words and music the ISS brought to us. That said, it was a bit strange for me being back at Rutherglen playing inn the band again, as I transferred to Bellshill Salvation Army 12 years ago, having been at Rutherglen all my life until then. It was strange simply because it felt as though I’d never been away!

It was definitely a weekend where God was praised and we were also reminded that God can, and will answer prayer, so one of the final songs the ISS sang, God, We Will Give You Glory, summed up the weekend for me:

 

I was reminded again at the weekend of the song One Life To Live, that I used to sing (and latterly play the accompaniment for) when I was in Singing Company (junior choir) at Rutherglen Salvation Army.

It’s the first line of this song I want to consider today

One life to live, oh may I live for Thee

Yes, we all know it’s true that we just have this one chance at life on this earth. However that doesn’t stop us taking so many things of life for granted, until we don’t have it. e.g. Our health, a job, our family, a roof over our head and food on the table etc. So this is why I felt a gently remember is the order of the day today.

We only get one chance at life, so make the most of it, but please don’t forget that it was God who has given you life. So whatever you do in your life, make sure you live your life for God!

junior_soldiers_promiseI’ve spent a lot of time in these last few weeks and months thinking about my Dad and my Aunt Mae, both of whom passed away earlier this year. One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot in relation to both of them is promises – Promises made by both of them either publicly or privately.

Dad of course promised to always look after me and care for me particularly as I was growing up, however latterly our roles were reversed, as it was Dad who needed to be looked after.

As for Aunt Mae, it’s the public promise she made many years ago, to serve God for all her life, that I’m thinking about. In the last few years of Aunt Mae’s life, her illness meant she was unable to attend the Salvation Army meetings anymore, however whenever we visited her, she always talked about the Army…albeit the Army she was talking about and asking about, was the Army of a few decades ago rather than our 21st century Army.

As far as Dad’s promise to look after me is concerned, he certainly did that, and, as far as I’m concerned, did that very well. And Aunt Mae’s always did her best to serve God all her life, particularly in her younger, more active days when she held various local officer positions at our home corps of Rutherglen Salvation Army.

I just hope that as I live my life, the promises I’ve made already, and any I make in the future, that I can be as successful in keeping my promises as both Dad and Aunt Mae have done. I believe I will only be able to succeed with this, if I keep the promise I made when firstly when I was 7 and then again when I was 18 years old, the promise Aunt Mae also made…to serve God all my days.

Maybe that is why in these last few weeks, as our band (Bellshill Salvation Army Band) has played the piece Guardian of My Soul, I’ve been so emotional – the second song featured in this piece is O Jesus I Have Promised to the tune of Aurelia:

O Jesus I have promised
To serve thee to the end,
Be thou for ever near me,
My Master and my friend.
I shall not fear the battle
If thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway,
If thou wilt be my guide.
 
O let me feel thee near me;
The world is ever near;
I see the lights that dazzle,
The tempting sounds I hear.
My foes are ever near me,
Around me and within;
But, Jesus, draw thou nearer
And shield my soul from sin.
 
O let me hear thee speaking
In accents clear and still,
Above the storms of passion,
The murmurs of self-will.
O speak to reassure me,
To chasten or control;
O speak to make me listen,
Thou guardian of my soul.
 
O Jesus thou hast promised
To all who follow thee,
That where thou art in Glory,
There shall thy servant be;
And, Jesus, I have promised
To serve thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow,
My Master and my friend.
John Ernest Bode

 

In the last couple of months I’ve spoken several times about how I’ve felt as if I’m running on auto pilot. But do you understand what i mean?

A pilot is normally associated with aeroplanes, however a pilot is really just described as someone who leads or guides. So for me what that meant was, I was going through the motions, doing and saying all the things I was supposed to without really feeling as though I was really there or really in control of what I was saying or doing…I was there in person but my mind was definitely elsewhere thinking about my Dad and my Aunt Mae  who died within 6 weeks of one another earlier this year.

I am just thankful that particularly in these last couple of months, I’ve had a great pilot to guide me…Jesus!jesus is my pilot

I’m reminded of a chorus we used to sing:

I have a pilot who guides me
Night and day;
Through cloud and sunshine I trust him,
Come what may.
Dangers may threaten but I never fear;
I’m full of confidence while he is near;
I have a pilot who guides me
Along life’s way.

I have certainly found those words reassuring in the last while, I hope you do too.

It’s been another sad day today, as just 5 weeks after saying our final farewells to my Dad, we said a final farewell to my Aunt Mae, Mary Waddell Gilchrist (23/10/1922 – 03/04/2013).

Aunt Mae (Aug 2011)

My intention again today, just at it had been on the day of my Dad’s funeral (see the blog post Farewell), was to write a tribute to my Aunt Mae, but I’m afraid again it’s just too soon for me to be able to write anything that would do her justice. At some point in the coming weeks I hope to write tributes to both Dad and Aunt Mae, but for today I simply want to say thank you.

Thank you to so many of you who have offered words of comfort and solace to me, Mum and Sandy over these last few weeks as first we lost my Dad, and then my Aunt Mae. I really can’t express strongly enough just how much your support in person, by phone and/or card, has meant to us all.

To those of you who have helped us get everything sorted out for today, I’d like to say a huge thank you to you.

To the many of you who shared with us today at Rutherglen Salvation Army for the service of thanksgiving, then at Rutherglen cemetery, and then afterwards back at Rutherglen Salvation Army for refreshments, thank you for taking the time to support us on this most difficult of days, as I’m sure it was very much appreciated by all my family. I’m sure my Aunt Mae would have been embarrassed by all that has been said about her today, but as far as I’m concerned, it simply shows the huge impact and influence Aunt Mae had on the many people she met during her lifetime.

I’ll miss you Aunt Mae, and just as I said about my Dad a few weeks ago, I will never ever forget you.

Rest in peace Aunt Mae xxx