Anyway, then I started thinking and listing songs that reminded me of someone or sometime or something. I'm listing them below, with links to the songs or music. Music is kind of like smells -- it brings you right back to the place you remember. I'd love to hear others'!
The Church's One Foundation - Mom
See above for reasons.
Hark the Herald Angels Sing - Luke
Back when our church had evening services -- "night church" -- we would alternate song leaders, and often the leader would ask the congregation for favorites. When Luke was small, his favorite was "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." Kids often get it right -- it's always a good time to celebrate Christ's birthday!
Trust and Obey - Dan
My brother Dan used to choose this one a lot when we were kids.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God - Ashley
Our family friend, Ashley, used to choose this one when we had our "choose your favorites" singing time at church. I wonder if she, like me, likes the descant part. It's one descant that I can actually sing.
Holy, Holy, Holy - Dan
Another family friend, who I was privileged to have in my first grade class way back in the day, Dan would pick "Holy, Holy, Holy" when I had the kids pick favorites.
Living for Jesus - Cadets
The boys' club in our church (and denomination) is called the Cadets. This was their theme song, sung on every "Cadet Sunday."
Blest Be the Tie - San Jose Christian School
An early principal of San Jose Christian, Ted Vander Ark, used to have the congregation sing "Blest Be the Tie That Binds" when he made his church visit rounds.
Silent Night - Candlelight services at San Jose CRC
It's still a tradition that at our candlelight service, usually Christmas Eve, we light our candles and sing this song. I'm sure many churches have this tradition. One year we all got into a big circle against the circular walls of our sanctuary. I still can picture all those points of light all around, singing together.
And Can it Be - Pastor Ebbers
Pastor Ebbers was the minister at San Jose CRC back when I moved to San Jose, and then when Randy came after we married during the first Christmas break. I was one of five new teachers at San Jose Christian that year, who all came to San Jose CRC (that was how it was then -- you looked it up in the CRC Yearbook and went to the closest CRC). At Christmas break we got married, and during the time in the service to introduce new people, I stood up and introduced "my new husband, Randy Moon." Pastor Ebbers kind of looked shocked and that was when I realized, oh, I probably should have told my pastor I was getting married. But he was very gracious and included us in the prayer. "And Can It Be That I Should Gain?" was one of his favorite hymns.
The Old Rugged Cross - Nate Moon
A soloist sang "The Old Rugged Cross" at Randy's dad's funeral. Now whenever I sing it, I think of him. Nate had cancer and knew the end was coming. He did not want a bunch of fancy stuff at his service. He chose a good hymn to be sung in a simple solo. One of my favorites is from Anne Murray's albums, "What aWonderful World." Yes, I'm an old Anne Murray fan.
Pachelbel Canon in D - Calvin College church and my friend Cindy
My first memory when I hear Pachelbel Canon is church services at my alma mater, Calvin College, where it was often played as the prelude. While still in college, when we lived off-campus, my friend Cindy and I would plan Pachelbel Canon as a way to assuage our consciences if we skipped church. One year Cindy's brother asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she said an album with this song on it. Her brother went around to record stores asking for "Taco Bell Cannon." :)
On the Far Side Banks of Jordan - Dan
This song has a chorus that always makes me think of my brother Dan. I like Alison Krauss and in her Cox Family album they sing this song. In the chorus it says,
And I'll be waiting on the far side banks of JordanI can just see Dan in my mind. I don't actually think he'd be "drawing pictures in the sand" -- that doesn't sound like him -- but I can see him looking up, seeing me, shouting, and running towards me. It makes my cry every time. But they're good tears.
I'll be sitting drawing pictures in the sand
And when I see you coming, I will rise up with a shout
And come running through the shallow waters, reaching for your hand
Because He Lives, I Can Face Tomorrow - Dad
I know a lot of these have stories of funerals, or people who have passed away. I guess it's natural that songs sung at those incredibly moving times become vital memories for us. When we were planning my dad's funeral, I asked for this hymn. It's not one sung very much in tradition. For me, it was the title and the chorus that made it come to mind:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrowI truly wondered how I would live without my dad in the world.
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives
He Owns the Cattle on a Thousand Hills - Air Force Chapel
I grew up in the Air Force, where my dad was a chaplain. We, too, had services where we could pick our favorites. I often chose "He Owns the Cattle on a Thousand Hills." I guess it figures I'd like one with cows in it, even back then. I like the comfort of the words. They're a different way of saying the famous Abraham Kuyper quote, "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!" And all those riches, he shares with me!
Let All Things Now Living - me
This is my favorite hymn. I sang it to the kids as a lullaby when they were babies. They all know it's my favorite. Some day I'm sure it'll be sung at my own funeral. When I brought Cori to Calvin, I was a basket case, crying for about 6 months before and 6 months after she left. As I told her, she was right where I wanted her to be, but I would miss her so much. At the parent's service during Passport, when parents and freshmen kids had a few days of orientation for college, the chaplain read a letter from his own daughter starting college that year. Everyone was crying -- men were weeping, too -- and -- wouldn't you know it? -- we sang this hymn. Totally did me in.