Two Joshes, one speaker and four testimonies
It’s tough to write a column with a Christmas emphasis almost before the Thanksgiving turkey is fully digested. Even more difficult when, as other parts of the country are having snowstorms, we are enjoying sunshine. Choosing what to write about can also be a challenge since so much has already been said about the Christmas season.
Part of me feels very nostalgic and I was tempted to write about the two Joshes I was reminded of just this past week. A friend in Canada sent me a cassette tape of an International Staff Band festival in Canada in 1962. That’s forty years ago. It was my first overseas trip with the ISB and the tape includes one of the first public solos I ever played with them. I was young and innocent in the ways of first class banding and I am glad that since then I have learned to play a little better!
But, also in that band was Josh Walford, known in those days as the “dean of euphonium players.” He was my first billeting partner and I revered and respected him (probably in those days I might have said “worshiped” him, but I have since learned the difference) for both his musicianship and his Christian walk. He has long since gone to glory but his influence lives on.
Coincidentally, during the same week I saw Josh Groban, the incredible young tenor singer who had his first television special a week or so ago. Prior to that I had heard and seen him in another television spectacular, “Enchantment,” in which he sang a duet with the young Welsh soprano Charlotte Church. There is no doubt he will go far in the music world but he looked quite an ordinary young man as he waited outside a restaurant with friends. Charlotte, they say, has the voice of angel. How they know that I am not sure…but both she and Josh Groban have certainly been blessed by their Maker with extraordinary talent.
I was also tempted to write about Tom Peters, a very accomplished salesperson who has written books on the subject and who lectures to various gatherings of salespeople. A friend of my daughter recently attended such a seminar held for a major bank. Apparently Tom, who is a Christian, doesn’t for that reason normally conduct such teaching on a Sunday, so he changed the format of the morning meeting to a worship service. During that session, apart from giving his testimony, he shared the Four Spiritual Laws, conducted an altar call and led salespeople to Christ. What an inspiration to hear of such a witness.
Then, I was also tempted to write about the morning service this last Sunday at the ARC where my wife and I worship regularly. The testimony time is always invigorating as one hears of experiences where people are being changed literally from darkness to light. The regularly-attending mother of a young man in the recovery program described the congregation as being her congregation, and expressed gratitude for the work of The Salvation Army…
…A graduate with fifteen years of sobriety told us how he keeps coming to worship in thankfulness to God who rescued him and keeps him clean…another in the program (who had been addicted to drugs and alcohol and lived part of his life in a cardboard box) eloquently gave a testimony to God’s grace and the joy he now has in his life…yet another spoke of his recently born daughter and of the fear doctors had that x-rays showed a major problem at the base of her neck. Following prayer with the ARC chaplain, he reported that, at the next visit, the doctors declared the problem had disappeared…the baby was born healthy.
One could go on and on, but of one thing I am sure…the Babe of Bethlehem is alive and well, and for those with eyes to see is still blessing his ultimate creation with incredible talents…speaking and singing through the voices of others, and…drawing men to him as he promised he would if only we lift him up.
What a joyous season this is!