Sunday, January 20, 2019


The washing of the feet by Ghislaine Howard
Years ago when I met RW he told me: “We should not be talking to people about God. Everybody has their own picture of who God is and it just gets confusing. We need to focus on Jesus!” We had met when he first attended our ‘Wiser on the Way” course learning how to read the Bible. After the three day course he asked to continue reading together. We have been reading together ever since. 
Along the way, he had some other things to say that have stuck with me. One of them was that the most important thing one can do is to serve. That is my view of being a follower of Jesus as well, so it hit home. At the time, my colleague, Ruud, and I were caring for our dear sister in Christ, Willemien, as she entered the last days of her life here on earth. She left here to wait for us there at the beginning of April. But I often thought of that idea brought up by RW – serve. 
As RW has gotten older, he too has needed help. This past year, after Willemien passed away, it was as if we were given another opportunity to care once again. RW was diagnosed with Alzheimer and we, together with his girlfriend (who is 87), cared for him as he waited for a nursing home to take him in. His health steadily deteriorated and I found myself spending more and more time serving and less and less time being able to talk with him as we did in the past about God’s word. 
At the very beginning of this new year, he finally heard that there is a place for him in the nursing home that was his first choice. So now he has moved. I will do my best to empty his rental house of 40 years of life and living – in a month. But that will mean that he and I can perhaps return to a relationship of talking to one another and learning from one another. 
This year has been a year of caring. We are nowhere near our parents (Shirley’s parents have both passed away, Scott’s live in New York and Florida) but this is a season of life that comes with these challenges and blessings. I pray that we will never forget to be servants. That, after all, is exactly what Jesus showed us and told us to be. And He is the one we want to resemble and follow. 

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45

Saturday, January 05, 2019

With heart and soul

Looking back on 2018 I see that we have a lot of activities that have to do with song. Every first Friday of the month we sing with the French-speaking brethren from LiĆ©ge. Each 3rd Wednesday Shirley and I are with the congregation in Eindhoven for their singing. In March and October Scott organizes a Song Workshop to help members learn how to sing or learn new songs. This year in October that meant that several new songs were even written by members. In September the church in Maastricht gets together with the church from Cologne, Germany for fellowship and song. 
In addition to these moments, there is a camp meeting in January which is also a Family Day with congregational singing. And at the end of the summer Bible camp weeks we have a Family Day where we sing some more. And in the congregation in Maastricht, we love singing. Most Sunday’s the worship service will end with one of the members humming the last song and others joining in and re-singing the song, or someone beginning a new song while others join in around the coffee. 
Singing is essential to our spiritual well-being. We are made to sing, created by the wondrous Creator with the capacity to put emotion to word and thought and so encourage and teach one another. And although there is a rich Dutch-speaking history of hymnody, much of it is quite classical. Newer songs tend to be in English – and then perhaps translated into Dutch. That is why we are so excited about the opportunities to add to the church hymnody with our own members developing the talents, sharing the inspiration that God has given them. 
In the coming months Scott will be getting a group together from around the Netherlands and Flanders and recording as many of the songs that have been written by our own members as possible. These will be presented online as recordings and in music notation so that other congregations can learn them. Many of these songs are designed around texts straight from Scripture, so that members will be able to carry God’s word in their hearts and minds daily. We will pass on the site address once it is online (although most of the songs will be in Dutch). Until then, if you are interested in some of the previous projects we have had, you can hear the songs by linking through the Maastricht church website here

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns andspiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God.Colossians 3:16 (RSV1885)