"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

Sunday, March 18 2018

“Musick has Charms to soothe a savage Breast. ” The Mourning Bride, 1697, by William Congreve
Music can also, inspire, comfort, invigorate and arouse, refresh and energize.

There is the ‘music of the spheres’ of course,  and nature’s playlist which offers symphonies ranging from the complicated percussion of a thunderstorm and the sweet cacophony of the dawn chorus to the rippling melody of a bubbling brook and wind whispering in a pine forest. But human beings are also delightfully skilled with the ability to ‘make music’, albeit some of us have more aptitude in this area than others. Music can be achingly beautiful or suffused with power, be it voices singing in holy harmony or instrumentals that touch the soul. And whether with voice or instruments crafted by human hands, the gift of music is surely God-given.

“Now, there are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services but the same Lord…to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good… “ If you read this whole Chapter, 1 Corinthians 12, (go ahead, read it!) you will notice that music is not listed as a spiritual gift.  Nor are any of the other creative arts, or numerous characteristics of a Christian life well-lived or administration, financial management, or linen pressing or grass cutting or most of the 1000 ministries which support the church and enable her mission to be accomplished.  Sometimes people differentiate between talents, as a mark of genetics and probably training, and the spiritual gifts, being the result of the power of the Spirit.  But as we  are all called and equipped to be involved in the “work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12 )are not all of our gifts given by God, valued by God, and granted for the building up of Christ’s Body the Church and God’s Kingdom here on earth? And all to God’s glory!

Question:  What gifts has God given you to use in ‘Kingdom work’?  Are you?

Photo:  “Joyful Noise” members, Kim, Lizzie and Val

Of all the music that reached farthest into heaven, it is the beating of a loving heart.
Henry Ward Beecher, American Congregationalist preacher 1813-1887

Recipe:  Spinach Salad with Oranges  “Oranges and lemons, say the bells of Saint Clement’s…” I like buying spinach because it is so versatile: in a salad, cooked as a vegetable, added to pasta or rice etc.

Salad greens(spinach, romaine, leaf); navel oranges, peeled and sliced or cut in segments; red pepper strips;  feta cheese or blue cheese; pecans & maple syrup; olive oil and lemon juice

Wash and crisp greens; prepare oranges and red pepper; in a non-stick pan add about 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup to ½ cup pecans, stir over low heat until syrup evaporates;  mix 2 Tablespoons of olive oil with 1Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Toss everything except the maple glazed pecans together; top salad with pecans.

Options: add other greens, peas shoots; replace pecans with toasted almond slices;  replace orange with fresh peeled pea, sliced  To the olive oil and lemon vinaigrette add a little grainy mustard, fresh herbs, salt & pepper, poppy seeds