Lord, our hope truly is in You alone...our hope for tomorrow, for comfort, for joy. We cry out to you and ask for only even a whisper in return to bring light to our darkness and calm to our anxious thoughts. Amen.
Soft as the voice of an angel
Breathing a lesson unheard
Hope with a gentle persuasion
Whispers a comforting word.
Wait, till the darkness is over
Wait, till the tempest is done
Hope, for the sunshine tomorrow
After the darkness is gone.
Oh how welcome Thy voice
Making my heart
Any sorrow rejoice.
If in the dusk of the twilight
Dimmed be the region afar
Will not the deepening darkness
Brightin' the glittering star.
Then when the night is upon us
Why should the heart sink away
When the dark midnight is over
Watch for the breaking of day.
Oh how welcome Thy voice
Making my heart
Any sorrow rejoice...
Both the words and music to “Whispering Hope” were written by Alice Hawthorne, pseudonym for songwriter Septimus Winner. Published in 1868, the hymn gained instant success in churches and has been published in hymnbooks continuously since that time. Winner was quite the accomplished writer of songs including “where oh where has my little dog gone” and “ten little Indians.” He used his music to take various political stands and was at one point thrown in jail for a particular tune advocating a highly controversial political opinion.
An accomplished musician, Winner not only wrote songs, but was well known as a violinist, music teacher and ran his own music shop as well. He frequently contributed to a magazine edited by Edgar Allen Poe and although he died in 1902, he was posthumously inducted into the songwriters’ hall of fame in 1970.
Tonight's special guest is my own sweet Mama, Barbara Daniel, on guitar. Read on for more info on her!
My mother, Barbara Daniel, is bar-none one of the most tenacious people I’ve ever met. Born to first-generation-American working class parents in the Bronx in the middle of the twentieth century, opportunity to participate in organized extracurricular activities was limited to say the least. She had a brief run at guitar lessons at 13 on an instrument intended for someone twice her size. These lessons were short-lived and would prove to be both the beginning and the end of her childhood formal musical training.
But Mom is the kind of person that disregards the lack of something and creates her own solutions in space where there previously were none. When I was a baby, she decided to take piano lessons on an ancient upright given us for free by a friend who was happy to get the rat-nest-filled behemoth out of their barn. Her teacher was a saintly woman who not only taught my mom, but also rocked me on her lap as she taught. Although the demands of motherhood also cut short piano study, when Mom enrolled me in violin lessons a few years later, she sat through each of my lessons taking notes so she could help me practice and began to learn violin herself (although violin would also be placed on the back burner for many years, in order to return to school and care for aging parents). When she finally retired from her post as a health and fitness instructor in her 60's, she decided to return to her long-deferred desire to learn the guitar and began jamming with a local Celtic and Bluegrass Gospel group and practicing as diligently as any musician could. To this day, on any given Thursday night she can be found playing both the guitar and the fiddle at "Pickin' & Grinnin'" in Ardmore, TN...a community jam session that includes players of all ages and skill levels and is just about the most charming slice of Americana to be found.
I couldn't imagine doing this series without including the woman who not only gave me actual, physical life, but who sacrificed to give me opportunities she hadn't had as a child. Opportunities that ultimately led to the vocational life I would later build for myself. As with most of my guests, I let her choose the tune, and although I wasn't familiar with "Whispering Hope" when she sent it to me, I found the gospel flair fitting to her, and what better topic than hope to celebrate alongside one of the most cheerfully optimistic and encouraging women I know? I'm so incredibly proud of her and all her accomplishments. Her example is like hope whispered to me each and every day.
Based on Hebrews 6:19, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil,” the text of the song refers to the anchor that keeps the soul unwavering — the “Whispering Hope” for all Christians.
Lord, thank you teaching us how to pray. As we find ourselves facing illness, political and racial division and other difficulty, may we consistently turn to You in prayer for these times are temporary and we know that your power and glory are everlasting. Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
your kingdom come;
your will be done;
on earth as is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours.
now and forever.
Matthew 6:9-13 & Luke 11:2-4
The lyric for this piece is taken from the passages of Scripture that recount when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13 & Luke 11:2-4). This particular setting was composed by composer/arranger/music director Dr. David Madeira in 2015. As The Lord's Prayer is an element of our service that we sing weekly during Sunday morning mass, Madeira originally wrote this because he wanted a new singable, congregational setting of this beautiful prayer that could be done in any instrumental context - traditional, contemporary, or blended - and still work well.
If you are interested in using this particular setting for worship with your congregation, it is available for purchase on his website by clicking HERE. I appreciate his permission to allow me to feature this arrangement on this series.
Both my special guests tonight are repeat-performers on the Hymns From Home and need no introduction. Pianist David Madeira has been previously featured on Episode 7 [Be Still My Soul/O love That Wilt Not Let Me Go], Episode 15 [Spiegel im Spiegel: A.Pärt/Together] & Episode 16 [Give Me Jesus/Were You There When They Crucified My Lord] and organist Jane Metcalfe played on Episode 21 [I Know That My Redeemer Lives].
Although the very first episode of Hymns From Home featured a popular arrangement of The Lord's Prayer, I wanted to include this version in the series as well because the music is so beautiful and honestly, we can never spend too much time in prayer.
When the pandemic first began, our amazing church was suddenly faced with the need to figure out how to broadcast our services so that the congregation could continue to worship "together" each in our own homes. While I have always volunteered on the music team, my participation has been a fairly minimal every-once-a-month or so sort of thing. However, suddenly faced with months at home as my weekend travel was cancelled, I've had the incredible privilege of serving alongside Jane, David and our vocalist Mary-Grace every single Sunday morning. While I certainly look forward to services returning to normal and getting to play with the other volunteers again, it's been a gift to be able to partner with these folks each week and lead the congregation through this odd season.
Yesterday was the last Sunday of this particular setup and I thought it was worth commemorating in tonight's episode. We recorded this video after church...clad in our masks, and yes 6 feet apart. In our Sunday morning liturgy, the Lord's Prayer is sung during the preparations for the taking of Communion. May it be for us also tonight - may this be an anthem that ushers in an experience of communing with God...and our fellow man.
Lord Jesus, it is so sweet to trust you and rest on your promises. Do not let me be troubled or afraid, and when I am, grant me the grace to be able to trust You more than I ever have. Amen.
'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
and to take him at his word;
just to rest upon his promise,
and to know, "Thus saith the Lord."
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I've proved him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!
O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
just to trust his cleansing blood;
and in simple faith to plunge me
neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
just from sin and self to cease;
just from Jesus simply taking
life and rest, and joy and peace.
'Tis So Sweet was published in 1882. The author, Louisa Stead, had lost her husband two years prior to it's publication and it is inferred that the tune came out of her experience with trusting Jesus through that season of loss. Unfortunately little else is known about her except that she later went on to be a missionary in Africa.
The hymn-tune TRUST IN JESUS was written by American composer William J. Kirkpatrick. He received a music education as a child but then worked as a carpenter for 16 years before devoting his life fully to music. He served as the music director at a Methodist church in Philadelphia and published 100 collections of gospel music as well as running a publishing company of his own.
Blake Thornell and I have been friends long enough that there was a point where his wife, Sarah and I were in each other's "Top 8" on MySpace. Through birthdays and weddings and babies and loss, they have been a vivid part of the tapestry that is my life in Nashville. Blake is also a gifted musician and worship leader at Calvary Chapel Brentwood.
Life doesn't often afford us the opportunity to play music together, but we've played several weddings, a few miscellaneous youth events, and a pop-country music video together. Also, a few years ago I had the great privilege of playing violin on record he made with his duo partner, Shanna. (You can find that record "Trembling Hearts" on iTunes here!)
In addition to worship leading, Blake works in the live event department for a Christian ministry, and loves coffee, his wife Sarah (an interior designer and lifestyle blogger, and being a dad to their two kiddos (although not in that order.) You can also subscribe to his YouTube channel here! As a Hymns From Home first, we actually decided to do two versions of this tune, one instrumental and one with Blake's amazing vocals. (You can find that video at the bottom of this blog post or on You Tube HERE!)
When Blake suggested we do this song, I immediately agreed because I love the tune and I knew it would be a familiar favorite to many of you. But to be honest, I've always felt a bit uncomfortable singing the lyric "how I've proved Him o'er and o'er;" that word "proved" just trips me up. While I would like to think that I have lived such a Christ-centric life that others would be pointed directly to the truth of how sweet life with Jesus is, I know I fail Him on a much more frequent basis. I remember a season of about 10 years where I simply refused to sing that line of the chorus whenever it was sung in church.
But then I started to think about the word prove in a slightly different way than simply using evidence to support something. Take making bread for instance. There is a proving time where the dough simply rests while the yeast does its work and makes it rise into something that can be baked into something delicious. What if I am that dough-ball? All I have to do is rest and be still and let the yeast of the Holy Spirit that is in me do the work to make me into something beautiful?
Or what about proofs in the mathematical sense? The answer was already there and the point of the exercise was to show how to get to the answer. In that sense, my failures are part of working out my faith with fear and trembling and all the while ending in the arms of Christ. Obviously both these analogies break down a little bit, and I realize I'm walking a fine line of a faith vs. works debate that I certainly don't want to engage on this blog. :) BUT...I think when put together...the passive resting while Jesus works in me and the active wrestling our faith to arrive at the answer in the person of Christ...we have the concept of abiding that we find in John 15. And that, my friends, 'tis SO sweet.
***Note: If you have been enjoying the "Hymns From Home" series, I'd be honored if you would check out my Kickstarter project currently in process to record some of these incredible pieces into an instrumental record. Click HERE for more info.
God, thank you that my story is one of grace and redemption through Your Son, Jesus Christ. No matter how unstable our circumstances on this earth, we thank you for this truly blessed assurance. Amen.
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior, all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.
Perfect submission, perfect delight,
visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
angels descending, bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love.
1 Peter 1:8 & 1 John 3:1-3
Blessed Assurance is another tune by the great hymn-writer Fanny Crosby. In her memoirs she noted:
"Sometimes a tune is furnished me for which to write the words. The hymn titled "Blessed Assurance" was made in this manner. My dear friend Phoebe Palmer Knapp (Mrs. Joseph), so well-known as a writer and singer of most excellent music and as an aid and inspiration to all who knew her, had composed the tune; and it seemed to me one of the sweetest I had heard for a long time. She asked me what it said. I replied, "Blessed assurance." I felt while bringing the words and tones together that the air and the hymn were intended for each other."
-from Fanny Crosby's Memories
Knapp, who wrote the tune ASSURANCE, was an American musician and philanthropist who wrote over 500 gospel tunes of which this collaboration with Fanny Crosby is the best known.
This week's episode is obviously drastically different than any of the other ones I've done thus far for a couple of reasons. First, it's the first video to feature me + a friend in the same shot! It's been a blessing as things begin to slowly open up a bit to get to actually make music TOGETHER in the same room with a friend. This has happened a couple times in the past few weeks and it's like a much-needed drink of water. I'm hopeful it might become a thing that happens more.
Also, this was by FAR the most thrown-together of any episode. I actually had a different one planned for this past Monday night but schedules and internet download speeds in the end did not afford us the luxury of finishing the project. So instead, Michelle Margiotta & I hit "pause" on a recording session for the new CD, literally picked the first hymn we could think of, and opened up 2 iPhones and a laptop and went live on Instagram & Facebook...also something I've wanted to try but haven't had the opportunity to do yet. I've heard from a few of you that Facebook LIVE feed wasn't so great and we weren't looking the right direction on the Instagram Video, so I decided to re-share a better version of this video so you can have a viewing experience that is less glitchy than it was live. I hope you enjoy this song a second time around!
I can hardly believe that it's been over two months and twenty-two episodes since I first launched the Hymns From Home series. What began as a simple idea to bring joy to others and continue to play violin with other home-bound musicians during the pandemic season has morphed into a much bigger life-of-its-own type project. I've been so blown away by the feedback and encouragement I've gotten from each of you saying that these hymns have brought you peace and comfort in times of uncertainty. The events of the past few weeks have brought more hurt and division in our country and as I learn and grow and take time to reevaluate what it means to love my neighbor, I've found that I'm increasingly taking more comfort in the peace that music brings to my soul.
With that in mind, I'm so excited and grateful to announce that I've begun work on a new album based on the video series I've been doing these past few months. "Hymns From Home" will be an instrumental collection of ten hymns...some familiar favorites and some lesser-known tunes...all arranged simply yet beautifully for violin and accompanied by piano, guitar, cello and others.
Because making a record is expensive, I've decided to use the crowd-funding tool Kickstarter to help offset some of the cost. (If you're not familiar with Kickstarter, you can CLICK HERE and read their "Project Backer FAQ" ) By contributing to this project, not only will you help make this record a reality, you'll also be able to get great perks like digital or physical copies of the music before it's available for sale to the public, a devotional guide I'm writing to go along with the record, multi-packs to share with your friends and some "bigger" donation tiers where you can get fun things like a violin video greeting, your name in the liner notes or even bring me to play at your church. I've created a little video below to share some of the heart behind the project, as well as a button where you can click to support this project on Kickstarter!
I know there is so much going on in the world right now, but I hope this record can be part of the soundtrack of hope, healing and peace we so desperately need.
Stories and thoughts and current happenings in music and life
Bethany is a freelance violinist/fiddler and tour manager who works with artists & events such as Kelly Minter, Cultivate: A Gathering Around The Word and Laura Story. She and her husband Keith live in Nashville, TN with their daughter Clare, cat & 6 backyard chickens. For more info on Bethany, visit her bio page!!