Today my Grandad passed away.
He was a quiet man, happy to let everyone else do the talking.
He worked with his hands, strong hands with thick fingers. He crafted beautiful things from wood. Here, holding out his gift in his hands, see this? This is how much I love you.
He was a faithful man; faithful to his wife whom he loved dearly. Theirs was a marriage that survived much sadness; one in which 'for better and worse' was not romantic platitude.
He was faithful to God whom he served humbly. He started going to Chatswood South Methodist Church when he was only six years old. He attended meetings there for over seventy-five years and sung in their choir for almost as many. He was methodist through and through and loved to sing. One of my last, and most precious, memories will be of singing carols together this last Christmas.
In August 2009 he found and showed me this hymn, copied out in his own hand. I know not who wrote the first verse or when. Grandad wrote the second.
The heavens proclaim Him with ceaseless devotion
The eternal's name o'er all is heard.
Its praise is echoed by earth and by ocean.
Receive O man their godlike word.
He holds the stars in the firmament glowing.
He bids the sun in splendour rise.
Our God all good, all great, all wise (repeat).
The earth acclaims him Lord of creation
His wondrous works are there to see.
The mighty storms and glowing sunsets
Forth tell His power and majesty.
He clothes the plants with a colourful beauty
He tunes the birds that sing above
All creatures come now and join us to worship
Our glorious God of grace and love.