By Jeanne Gowen Dennis
A while back I visited a lovely city in the UK with lovely people. On one street, one could see four churches, their ornate architecture and angled steeples standing in contrast to the boxy design of the surrounding modern buildings. My friend told me every one of those churches is closed. One is now a museum. The others had congregations too small to pay the heating bills.
Inside each church, I could imagine an organ, its regal pipes standing at attention, ready to pour out majestic praises to God, as they had done for over 100 years. But now they gathered dust like relics of an ancient, saintly era, stark reminders of the revivals that swept this land in the 1800s. Massive. Beautiful. Silent.
Not far from there we entered another church, still struggling to stay open. We attended their evening Bible study/prayer meeting. The small group met in the basement of the church, for it was warmer there. The fellowship was sweet, the music tender and worshipful. But the prayers carried us straight to the throne of God! We worshiped, praised, and pleaded for God’s help where it was needed. We thanked Him for His awesomeness, His love, His mercy. In those moments, we intimately connected with His heart.
Afterwards, one of the men took us visitors upstairs to show us the sanctuary. I vaguely remember dark, wooden pews, but all I saw was the organ. He said it was broken, but it had been worked on recently.
“Would it be okay if I tried to play it?” I asked. It had long been a dream of mine to play a real European pipe organ built when craftsmen knew how to incorporate an organ into the structure of a church for the best acoustics.
I had no music with me, so I sat down and played chords and notes as the Spirit led me. Glorious sounds resonated through the building and through my heart. All over the city, great old organs sat silent, but that night one crippled organ found its magnificent voice again and carried my praises to God.