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Beauty, Song, and St. Patrick’s Day (Leighton Ford)

I have been reading the book Beauty by the Irish poet-philosopher John O’Donohue.

He writes about the beauty that is in music this way: “Often in the human voice things long lost in the valleys of the mind can unexpectedly surface.”

This made me think about my dear brother-in-law Billy. At 98 years old he is profoundly deaf. He can’t hear me speak because my voice is deep and he can’t hear Jeanie because her voice is soft but I have found that if I sing he can hear.

Some months ago we were with him and as usual he couldn’t hear what was being said so the four of us who were with him decided to sing some of his old crusade songs: “To God Be The Glory”; “My Jesus, I Love Thee”; “Blessed Assurance”.

When we stopped he said, simply, “Sing more”.

So we sang “How Great Thou Art” and when we finished he quietly breathed “Amen”.

I believe that the beauty of music touched the deep beauty of Christ
in his soul.

It led me to think we ought to be more like the Psalmist, singing his great songs of praise and sometimes desolation, and like Paul who encouraged us to sing to one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs the beauty of the Spirit through our voices.

And perhaps on this St. Patrick’s Day we should consider being more like the Celts, whose soulful and haunting music has touched and touches so many souls. In classic Celtic music the melodic line moves up and down the primary chords. Students of music tell us that this is because such a melodic progression makes it easier to sing in harmony – so that the gifts of each can bring richness and beauty to the whole.

Leighton Ford

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  • Dan Valiish says:

    Good afternoon Mr. Ford,
    I recently moved to DC for work, after retiring from my FAA career of 37 years. This has been a fascinating spiritual journey. When I left my home in Atlanta, I was working every waking minute, with little time for “Rest”. Since coming here, I have been afforded the opportunity to spend about an hour every morning for prayer and bible study, as well as reading other Christian literature.
    Though brought up in a Catholic home and school, it wasn’t until I was 17 when a friend invited me to a mid-week non-Catholic church gathering. We sang nice songs, said nice prayers and all sat down to hear the minister speak. This is when “something” happened that changed my life for good. Brother Doug spoke of Jesus personal love for me and that he died for ME and other things I had never heard in my Catholic church. Something inside me erupted and it blew my mind. Shaking, I stood up in the middle of the teaching and walked up to the minister and stopped him. I asked “What’s happening to me?!?!?” He asked if I had ever received Jesus as my personal savior. I had no idea what he was talking about and answered “No”. He asked if I would like pray to have Jesus come into my life as my personal savior. I just looked at him and we started praying. That was Ash Wednesday, 1974.
    Today God is opening doors for me to share God’s love with people on the streets of DC, be an encourager to others in the faith and to learn more about God’s plan for my life. I sincerely believe that God is beginning to open the doors of heaven at an ever-increasing rate here in DC. I am regularly meeting the Anglicans of Falls Church who have a “Christian Healing Institute”. Having lived in England for 3 years, this is surely a different group of Anglicans! I also met up with the folks of McLean Bible Church here on Monday evenings in Rosslyn. ~250 young professionals meet weekly in an auditorium on Monday evenings to hear God’s Word! In Vienna, the New Song Church in Vienna where they actually pray for you after the service for healing! AND I WAS HEALED!
    The big thing that happened was Wednesday at St. Charles Catholic Church, (where I regularly attend) when Father Planty gave a message on Catholic Evangelism! Said Pope Francis is encouraging Catholics to share the Love of Jesus with others. Said that Jesus should be our “Best Friend” and constant companion. Yes, in a Catholic Church! Wow!
    Currently, my wife of 36 years, Kat and I are in the process of selling our properties in Atlanta and to consider permanently relocating here to the DC area. Was thinking it would be good for the two us to get away from the city for a few days and seek the Lord’s direction for our lives. I am doing contract support work for the FAA in DC and am well taken care of. It’s a bit of a story on how I learned about your ministries. Actually, it was during my lunch break today, which is now over.

    Mr. Ford, I hope to hear from you and learn more about your ministry here in Virginia.
    Possibly we could get together for coffee?

    May God richly bless you and your work in the Lord,

    Dan Vallish
    404-547-4241

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