Who paints these skies? Psalm 19 (NIV) tells us;
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.
Driving home last night, we listened (and, as we often do, sang along) to Robin Mark’s fine arrangement of the very old hymn, ‘We have an Anchor’; all about the Christian’s hope in Christ. I love this albeit rather short hymn, partly as it reminds me of my mother and particularly due to the strong imagery it conjures up in my mind of waves and rocks and ropes and anchors – all stirring stuff!
The words were written by Priscilla Jane Owens (1829-1899) and are dated 1874. The tune was composed by William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921) and he provided melodies for many other well-known songs including another moving hymn, ‘He Hideth My Soul” which, as a boy, I remember being sung by Burl Ives on an LP recording!
Here’s the hymn based on words from the New Testament (Hebrews 6:19); ‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and steadfast’.
‘We have an anchor that keeps the soul, steadfast and sure while the billows roll. Fastened to the rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.
Will your anchor hold in the storms of life? When the clouds unfold their wings of strife, when the strong tides lift and cables strain, will your anchor drift or firm remain’?
You can listen to Robin Mark singing this hymn either on YouTube or on the Event Hymns 1&2 CD (Worship Experience, Kingsway Music). Either way, I pray that you will be blessed by the wonderful truth of this very old hymn.
Mostar, Bosnia - I experienced this as a sad, haunting place. For me, Mostar was full of memories from the mid-1990′s of destruction and terror witnessed via the TV in my front room. This was our recent past. A European war – the victims of which looked just like us – they wore trainers, tee-shirts with American slogans and jogging trousers. The population was harassed and menaced; many still remain dispossessed. Genocide and ethnic cleansing were endemic in this entire region. It took ages for anyone in the West to take notice and even longer to take action. This was a war in our own backyard. 15 years on the emotions remain raw and hurting. As a tourist in Mostar I felt like a voyeur; uncomfortable and out-of-place.
Below is the ‘Old Bridge’ – the Stari Most over the Neretva river – blown up in an act of utter aggression by Bosnian Croats in November 1993 - and rebuilt along with the rest of the town with $15m of international funding in 2004. The original bridge had stood on this site for 427 years before the tragic events of the Balkans war (1991 – 1996).
The old bridge area of Mostar is now a UNESCO World Heritage listed site.