were there ever sweeter sounds?

It’s about ten days since we read this story and two other articles (linked from the bottom of it) from Open Doors about Christians returning to towns in the Nineveh Plains, near Mosul in Iraq. While we continue in broken-hearted intercession for those in or fleeing Mosul as the Iraqi army advances against IS, and mourn all that has been – and is being devastated – we just can’t shake the hopeful echo of the sweetest worship we think we’ve ever heard. So, on Friday, we wrote this prayer:


Were there ever sweeter sounds to you
than this my melody-making King?
Barely not-broken bells ringing in desecrated ruins;
Brave footsteps crunching up paths
or steps to reach stolen steeples
ready to lift the cross high again in simple, wooden glory;
and the courageous, beating-faster heart
of every loving pastor
who goes ahead of his people
to prepare the Nineveh plains for their return.

I never heard more bitter-sweet sounds
my melody-making King,
than that single bell which still echoes in my heart
and the stories calling me to deeper worship
than my songs have yet to find,
and greater courage than my life may ever be called to live.
But, although I hesitate to add anything alongside
these holy fragments of praise,
I say a thousand silent thank yous for their beauty –
and this answered prayer of unspeakably precious worship renewed.

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