Faith of Our Fathers! Living Still

Between the green hardback cover of my grandmother’s Melodies of Praise hymnal, is a treasure of yellowing pages speaking of God’s goodness to His people, a testimony of His power and, a call to complete surrender.  I hold Melodies of Praise second only to the Holy Scripture as God delivered His message  through inspired words composed to music.  Just as David, the lowly shepherd boy played his harp to soothe King Saul in 1 Samuel 16, the legacy of God’s message lives on in song.

Melodies of Praise

I recall my grandmother whom I called Mamaw, often leading the “song service” in our small, country, church.  The church used  one particular hymnal, titled, Melodies of Praise.  Mamaw kept her own copy and wrote in pen in the back, a list of her favorite songs to lead.   I would be remiss if I didn’t share a portrait of this  woman of faith.  She loved to “put-on-the-dog” in the way that she dressed.   For those of you who grew up in small town America know what I’m talking about when I say “put-on-the-dog”.  I can picture her in an ankle length dress which was usually in a shade of red, accented with matching “ear bobs”, brooch, a pair of pumps that would today make the cover of Cosmo and wag the tongues of many jealous women.  She also adorned her fingers, which were always well manicured, with lots of sparkling diamonds.  Her hair was fixed to perfection, piled high on her head and sprayed stiff so that it would hold in place for a few days.  She could belt a tune, as could most of the women on her side of the family, which is why we were often under her direction for song worship at church.  The more she sang and the Spirit moved, the less she could control her feet.  She would begin skipping around the platform in front of the congregation.  Her hair wouldn’t move but the skirt of her long dress was in full swing.  As a young girl watching this action before me, I couldn’t help but wonder how she kept the whole gig going as she skipped around singing, clapping and keeping her balance in her very high heeled pumps.

Mamaw’s list of favorite Hymns
Faith of Our Fathers! Living Still

If you have never experienced a “song service” in an Assembly of God church on a Sunday evening, life is not in you, friend.  As my Aunt Patty would strike the first chord on the piano and the faithful electric guitarist, Mr. Finch or, my Uncle, Nicky Monigold would pick the string of the same note, Mamaw would raise her right hand out in front of her as if she were leading a choir of a thousand angelic voices.  Her right arm swooped down with power and authority to begin the first note.  As the piano rang and voices raised, the walls and the ceiling in the small wood framed church began to vibrate.   For the next hour, sometimes two, the church shook.   At school on Monday, my friends, who often sat outside the building on their bicycles during the Sunday evening service, made comments about the noise coming from behind the church doors the night before.  However, what they considered noise, was a long legacy of faith delivered in song.

There have been many times throughout my life that I have opened the pages of  Mamaw’s hymnal.  At times, to live again the days of old with a good laugh as I remember the little church vibrating off its foundation,  or to find peace and comfort in a particular song.  There have been other times like today that I pulled the book from the shelf for no particular reason except to be sure the words were still on the pages of this very old friend.  Settling into my comfortable reading chair, I allowed the green cover and aged pages to casually fall open in my lap.  Immediately, I waifed a hint of Este Lauder, Mamaw’s signature perfume.  Looking down at the fading black ink on the yellowing page, 60, was the song titled:  Faith of Our Fathers!  Living Still.

Faith of our fathers, living still in spite of dungeon, fire and sword;

Oh how our hearts beat high with joy, whene’er we hear that glorious word

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!  We will be true to thee till death!

Our fathers chained in prisons dark, were still in heart and conscience free:

How sweet would be their children’s fate, if they, like them, could die for thee!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!  We will be true to thee till death!

Faith of our fathers we will love, both friend and foe in all our strife;

And preach thee too as love knows how, by kindly words and virtuous life!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!  We will be true to thee till death!

5 thoughts on “Faith of Our Fathers! Living Still

  1. I am surprised you remember so accurately because of your young age. You did describe the song service to a tea.


  2. Loved reading this post. I can see your smartly dressed grandmother in that Assembly of God setting! Blessings, Janice


  3. What a great piece Sandra!! I will forward it on to my boys. They will enjoy it for sure!! Peggy forwarded it on to me. I signed up to get your blogs but they seem to skip my mailbox. Keep up the good writing. I forwarded it on to a friend of mine who plays guitar in our blue grass band. He has the same spiritual background as we do. He loved your writing and loved getting a glimpse back into his past as well. I will forward his remarks on to you. Blessings. Aunt Patti


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