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Out of our depth

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by Terry Camsey, Major –

Suddenly and unexpectedly I found myself weeping one morning last week. A sense of sadness and overwhelming grief came upon me.

I had decided to listen to a CD made by Croydon Citadel Band (United Kingdom Territory) while I shaved. It features the music of Major Leslie Condon who died relatively young of a heart attack at Christmas some years ago. He was a dear friend, and we spent many years enjoying each other’s company both working together in the International Music Editorial Department and playing together in the International Staff Band.

But it was not for Les himself that I found myself spontaneously weeping. It was during a musical selection he had written called “Peace of Heart.”

As the band was playing the words of the songs included in that selection started to run through my mind…

Take the name of Jesus with you,
Child of sorrow and of woe;
It will joy and comfort give you,
Take it then where’er you go.

Then the chorus…

Precious name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of Heaven.
SA Song Book #66

What wonderful words of encouragement. The tears continued to flow as the music transitioned into another beautiful promise…

One golden dawning, one glorious morning,
When earth’s dark shadows flee away,
Our voices blending in song unending,
In brightest realms of fadeless day.There’ll be no sorrow in God’s tomorrow,
There’ll be no sadness, doubt, or fears;
There’ll be no sorrow in God’s tomorrow,
For he will wipe away all tears.
SA Songbook #888

Then, as the band played on, the words of an affirmative chorus (that, sadly does not now even appear in current Salvation Army Song Book) were brought to mind…

He will keep you from falling,
He will keep to the end.
What a wonderful savior,
What a wonderful friend.

What a blessing those words were, and I am so glad that as a youngster I learned these words. In fact, as I recall, there were few songs that the then congregations had not committed to memory. Thus, on hearing the band play a selection such as this, the listeners could follow the thoughts that the composer brought to mind—they already knew the songs.

A reviewer of a recent Band CD (the review appeared in Salvationist magazine published in England) the reviewer mentioned how sad it was that much of the meaning of some of the music would be totally lost on listeners who did not know the words of the songs so carefully selected. That was the cause of my weeping—a realization that congregations are so impoverished regarding the Song Book and so many blessings are lost.

Listening to music without words may be like seeing a wonderful two-dimensional painting. But when words are added (as they were intended by Army composers) an incredible three-dimensional depth appears.

Can you wonder that I wept?


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