The Lord put a new song in my heart (harp)!

From the young age of 10, until I was a young adult, I played two musical instruments; the violin and the viola.  Life progressed; marriage and the “baby carriage” that grew every two years.  As life went on, it seemed that my beloved violin was becoming just another “dust catcher” and something else to find space to store. So, one year I sold it at a garage sale thinking that anything to do with a stringed, musical instrument was part of my past and not my future. Besides, listening to classical music was something I didn’t have to play to enjoy. When I had a chance I could turn on the radio.

Time progressed, and so did my love of the Bible. The more I read, the more I found how the Lord loves music. It is found throughout Scripture, but not always “noted” with a musical instrument. (Sorry couldn’t resist.) Here’s an example that will help you understand.

Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD:

I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.

Psalm 146:1 & 2

From this Scripture it looks like there is a whole lot of praising going on, and there is. But we find that we have two completely different definitions to the word “praise”.  (Actually, there are seven different Hebrew words for praise. This itself is another study for another time.) Here, the first word for praise is halel and is linked to Lord. This is where the universal word of hallelujah comes from; Halel is praise; Lord is Yah.  The second word is “sing praises” and is linked to the Hebrew word zamar; Strong’s 2167. It is defined as  A primitive root (perhaps identical with H2168 through the idea of striking with the fingers); properly to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument, that is, play upon it; to make music, accompanied by the voice; hence to celebrate in song and music: – give praise, sing forth praises, psalms.

My many journeys to Israel have been like stepping stones in my life. It seems each journey has its own highlight that I take home with me. About seven years ago the whole idea of playing a harp became a dream. I visited Harrari Harps just outside of Jerusalem. It was there I played the harp for the first time. I got a picture postcard of one of their 22 string harps home and put it on my office bulletin board dreaming that one day I would be able to play the Psalms as I found out that each Hebrew letter has a note on the large harp. I also had the honor of helping my friend make her harp in the City of David where a small and personal harp “factory” was located in the residence area. One morning while I was there I took a little walk to find another factory that was not only making harps but restoring violins. Each year as I travel to the Galilee, the tour guide always tells us that the Galilee is shaped like a harp, thus its Hebrew name Kinneret. In Jerusalem they constructed a new walking bridge that is called David’s Harp and a few years ago they placed a large statue of King David playing a harp just outside King David’s tomb near the Zion Gate.

Playing the harp was becoming more real in my spirit. I incorporated a sterling harp charm on one of my everyday necklaces along with a key and a perfume bottle. I began to study on the harp that is mentioned throughout Scripture taking note that the kinnor was a 10 string harp, not the 22 string. The dream of having a harp was still a dream. The ability to set-aside the needed finances to purchase a harp was always on the back burner; family and ministry needs always come first. I’d think “Someday in heaven, I’ll be handed a harp.”

Then it happened. In the summer of 2009, I was handed a 10 string Davidic harp for my very own. It was the luck of the draw, or an angel directing the raffle. The 10-string Watchman harp is made by Jubilee Harps. I had been by their booth and talked with Rick and Mary Woods a precious couple that I’d  met briefly at an event in Florida a few years earlier. I played their harp and loved it! I got their information brochure and was walking away when I saw the raffle box. Being a vendor I asked if it was okay to enter my name as many times vendors aren’t allowed to participate in drawings. Rick said “Of course you can put your name in the box, maybe you will win”. A few days later, as the conference was near to closing, it was time for the harp drawing. My husband and I were standing at my table as a little boy was called up to do the drawing. He handed the paper to the MC who said “I think the winner is another vendor”. I knew at that moment it was me. He called out my name. I wanted to do cartwheels, but instead, I started crying as I ran to the platform to receive my harp. When I got back to my table there must have been 20 people congratulating me; I felt like the queen. One woman said to me that she really wanted the harp but was happy that I got it. Then she said “Be sure to buy a case for it”; I did. I also bought the tuner and the amplifier.

I kept the harp near my desk and would pick it up here and there and strum it. When my grandson was just a wee little guy I’d play a few minutes while I held him in my lap and often would let him pluck a string or two.

Since winning my harp I had returned to Israel three more times, each time wanting to bring my harp so I could worship like David did. Each time it didn’t seem possible to try and fit it in my luggage with all of the benevolence items that take high priority in my luggage when I come to Israel. But something happened this year that really prompted me that I must take my harp to Israel during Succoth. It began in January when I was with a group. We were touring the north and went to a place I had never been. It is a memorial building that contains the pictures of all the Druze soldiers who lost their lives defending Israel. It is also the place where the words to Hatikvah (Israel’s national anthem) were written by Naphtali Herz Imber. As we stood outside the museum and sang Ha Tikvah (The Hope) I so wanted to be playing it on my harp alongside the trumpeter.

I was gathering my things to take to Israel, and I picked up my harp bag and “put it in the pile” and then proceeded to write a note to my Face Book friends of my heart’s desire. The next morning as I read my e-mails someone had sent me a link to “Ha Tikvah”, which I took as a sign that I was to take my harp to Jerusalem.

I needed another large suitcase in order to get my harp to Israel and asked my daughter, Katherine, if she had one that I could use. She brought me one and was quite explicit that I needed to make sure “that” suitcase would come home with me as it was the one she brought home from her six-month mission journey to China where her entrance and exit was from Hong Kong. I said “no problem”, or at least I thought there wouldn’t be.

Upon departure to Israel, from the time I checked in my three pieces of luggage and the time I got to the gate my first flight got delayed with no possible way to make a connection in Atlanta or JFK for the only Delta flight that day to Tel Aviv. I got rerouted and put on a KLM flight with a long layover in Amsterdam. When I arrived in Tel Aviv I patiently waited for my luggage, only to have one of the three checked bags to appear. So, off to the baggage claim area I went to file a report for the two missing bags where I was given a tracking number. I kept checking the status of my bags and was so surprised that they ended up in Hong Kong. They then had to be rerouted back to Amsterdam and then forwarded to Israel. The bags arrived yesterday. Both bags began in near perfect condition and were delivered quite differently as you can see from my photo.

Can you guess which bag my harp is in? Yup, you’re right, the one on the right that has now been neatly wrapped in duct tape because the zipper was broken beyond repair.

When the driver pulled my luggage from his van I thought there is no way my harp is going to be in one piece, let alone the rest of the items intact or even still there. But, thanks for the wisdom of the woman who told me to buy a case for my harp, her words and my obedience saved my harp, and, of course my Angels who often get to work overtime for me. 🙂

I had packed my harp between two Israeli blue bath towels before putting it in the case. and when I lifted the top towel there was my  harp, unharmed.

In a little while I’m taking my harp to the Old City through the Zion Gate. I think Ha Tikvah will be the first song that I play on my Watchman. As far as the suitcase, both my daughter and I found it quite interesting that it had to return to Hong Kong before it came to Israel.

The Lord knows our deepest desires, and we need to trust His timing if and when He decides if that is what is best for us.

THANK YOU to all who prayed. For more information on my Watchman and other harps please go to www.JubileeHarps.com

Hugs and Love from the City of Our Great King, Jerusalem, Israel,

Cynthia    www.TheFragrantBride.com

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This years Succot’s joy; Gilad Shalit soon to be released

Jerusalem, the City of Our Great King, is where I am penning this blog today.

Today there is joy in the land not only for this most joyous Succoth holiday season, but for the news that Gilad Shalit will soon be released from captivity. Today’s newspaper said that as early as this coming Tuesday (18 October) Gilad will be released to Egyptian security officials and a small Israeli delegation. They will verify his identity and that he is in good health. Gilad will then be taken by plane to an IDF base while the first transfer of prisoners, (numbered around 477)  from the Ketziyot Prison in the south of Israel to the Gaza Strip, Egypt and the “West Bank”, with about 40 being deported to other countries (Turkey is one stated as being a probable country that would absorb the prisoners).

Not everyone is happy with the number of prisoners that will be exchanged. I understand the trauma and hurt they must feel, yet I also feel the joy of the Shalit family that there will be an end to their hurting hearts.

Over the last five years I’ve joined millions world-wide in praying for the release of this brave solider as well as his family who nightly would retire wondering if they would ever see their son alive. Over the last few years, as I traveled to Israel, I would make it a point to stop and sign the petition and talk with those who continue to hold the vigil of prayer and hope outside of the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. A few years ago, as I stopped to chat with those who were manning the table, I reached into my backpack to give them a teddy bear. I still remember how surprised that the one I blindly choose to give them was a TY Beanie Bear named ”Hope” the praying bear.

The other day, when the news was released that Gilad was coming home, I stopped by the prayer tent, once again. They were building a Succah outside of the tent where prayer, for over 1900 days, had been conducted just outside the Prime Minister’s residence.

Hope, a word with a large expectation of good things to happen but also a word that can reflect pain when our hope is deferred. Perhaps now our prayers should be directed to the families who have been impacted by the prisoners that will be released the same day as Gilad as well as the remaining 550 prisoners who will be released in a few months. Many of the families whose lives were damaged by the prisoners will never have the joy that the Shalit family will have once they have their precious son  at home with them again.

The situation is best said . . . It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.

Please continue to pray for the “peace of Jerusalem” and all those who dwell here.