As I’ve mentioned before I was not brought up in a believing home. My mother did sometimes sing the hymn adapted from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress
“He who would valiant be
‘gainst all disaster . . .”
It had been her school song, and became the first hymn I knew and still one of my favourites.
One of our hymns at Church this Sunday took me straight back to then I was 11, and the first hymn I fell in love with:
We were staying with my father’s mother in Scotland, my first visit to the UK since we’d moved to Turkish Cyprus when I was six. Grannie was the only practising Christian in the whole family on either side, a little woman of great energy and determination, and with long, curly, grey hair that was a source of fascination to me and that she always wore up in a bun. I went to Church with her on Sunday, Grannie clutching her hymn book with the music printed in it, and fell in love with the final hymn:
“Thy hand, O God, has guided,
thy flock from age to age. . .”
I particularly loved the final line of each verse:
“One church, one faith, one Lord.”
I was, doubtless, a strange child, and what drew me to this hymn in particular I cannot tell, but it continues to have a very dear place in my heart.