"A charge to keep I have, a God to glorify." "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grieves to bear!" " Guide me, O thou great Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land." Like most good deacons, my dad leads devotion. However, in the beginning, he'd end up asking a sister or brother to provide a suitable tune before lining the hymn for the audience. Fortunately, Daddy had a sister in his corner to back him up and drive that hymn into a spiritual awakening. He had momma. She'd sit on ready at the piano and have the church on fire, while we listen to her voice alternating with daddy lining out the hymn.
I'll never forget the day he asked her to start teaching him to raise his own hymns in a key that was suitable for himself. It was in the early 1980's. Momma began practicing with Daddy at home. She began to teach him how to listen for starting pitches, and how to sing in a tenor range. We'd sit in the living room and be the congregation accompanying Daddy while he practiced leading hymns and congregational tunes in a commanding, husky timbre. "Come and Go To That Land," "Believe I'll Run On," "Sword in My Hand," were just a few of them. This went on for weeks until he was ready to present himself.
Finally, the day came and we knew he was ready. He stood before the congregation raised his hymn with confidence, and broke out into one his fiery tunes after the prayer. Where he felt unsteady, Momma picked him up with the piano, and softly sang along. We were all so proud of my daddy, the good deacon. He had always been very giving and caring of others. He was already a servant. (Deacon Canty is the one people call, because they know he'll go out of his way to help them.) He had a desire to lead worship, and it had come to pass! Today, he is still called upon very frequently to serve in this capacity, and he needs no prompting! He holds his own. As a matter of fact, I don't know many people who can lead a devotion as passionately as my dad.
I started out meditating on how I could shed some light on my father, the shepherd of our family. While recording my thoughts, it dawned upon me that I had shaped an entirely different narrative. Both my parents, in the midst of their imperfect yet righteous attempts, have built a foundation for a legacy of faith. They took what God gave them, and made it work. The song narrative is but a metaphor as to how they lead their lives out before us. This is where the common meter enters the title. Meter is how beats are counted and organized in a song. Through the rhythm of life, my parents continue to maintain a steady beat in common meter. Together, they are marking time. Daddy leads the song, but you better believe Momma is there to pick him up and keep him on key and on beat.
"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper" (Isaish 54:17).