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The music of grace
Proper 23 | Ordinary Time 28

Wayne Brouwer

Exodus 32:1-14 — Philippians 4:1-9
Matthew 22:1-14


His shrunken frame and age-diminished voice were almost lost at the front of our large church auditorium. He had been a medical intern at a small hospital in Arnhem when Hitler's war machine rolled through the Netherlands and set up a puppet Nazi government. Radios were destroyed to prevent BBC "propaganda" from demoralizing folks who needed nothing other than German "truth."

But among the clutter of equipment in one surgical suite, someone had managed to hide a shortwave set. At 5 p.m. each Sunday afternoon the doctors and nurses gathered secretly and tuned in softly to the worship service of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields on the edge of London. My friend could not remember a single sermon heard in those covert assemblies, but one thing he never forgot. At the close of each broadcast swelled the choral power of Henry Lyte's magnificent melody, "Abide With Me."

"In the distance we could hear the guns," the old doctor whispered, "and the cupboards of medical supplies ...

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