Advent Devotional 10
December 8, 2023 Creekwood United Methodist Church

Perceived Value - Deep Thoughts

Posted in Advent 2023, Deep Thoughts
Candles for Advent

Advent Devotional 10


READ:  John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

Amazing Grace – My Chains Are Gone. You know the traditional version, but the Chris Tomlin version adds a powerful line/response in the chorus that you may not know.

” My chains are gone, I’ve been set free

My God, my Savior has ransomed me

And like a flood, His mercy reigns

Unending love

Amazing grace.”

GRACE is the greatest gift from God we can ever receive – and it came through the birth of a child in a lowly manger that was then later sacrificed for our sins so that we can have eternal life.

GRACE was a word that I heard many times before my Emmaus Walk in February 2005, but a concept that was hard to grasp – that God so Loved the World He gave his only son so that I may have eternal life.

One of the most famous Scriptures is John 3:16. You’ve seen it at football games, bumper stickers, signs, etc. But…

–Creekwood, do you know that if you search YouTube for “God So Loved The World” you will find over ??? versions of songs/performances with that title.

— Creekwood, do you know that there are two performances of the song by the Creekwood Choir?

–Creekwood, do you know that my Dad (Merlin Bachellor) wrote the song and sang with the Creekwood Choir the first time it was sung at Creekwood. Dad is the Tenor standing next to me.

Dad was not able to sing it in the Creekwood Choir the last time it was sung, because he was no longer able to get up the stairs, but he was singing it with the choir while sitting in the Congregation with a huge smile of joy on his face.

He wrote the song after I was born after being asked by his UMC church in Iowa to write a song. However, that church never sang it. It wasn’t until years later that his UCC church in Iowa decided to sing it. When I heard that, I wanted to be a part of it. He played it for me on his piano over the phone, and as I listened to it, I told Dad I wanted to not just be there, but to sing it with his choir. Dad Fed-Exed the music to me, we had more remote over-the-phone piano sessions and he left a voice mail on my phone with him playing. I listened to that voicemail over and over, including on the 2-hour drive to his church on Maundy Thursday 2005, and showed up ready to sing it with Dad, my brother, and the choir.

Later that night, Dad shared with me the pain that he had had for years with his song not being sung by the church that asked him to write it. The song has 2 parts. He said when he wrote the first part, that he tried to capture how God might have felt sacrificing his only son (His only son – drearily repeats in the song). So, the first part is clashy and you can feel the pain when you listen to it.

When Dad was in the hospital several years ago with what the doctors finally determined/believed was aspirational pneumonia, he appeared to be recovering when he took a quick turn for the worse. Our family was looking at transitional care for Dad, but Dad started having breathing issues and was quickly moved to the ICU. I was calling the family to get them back ASAP because the doctors were asking me if he had a DNR. Dad was dying. I was there in the ICU talking with a nurse caring for him and telling her about my Dad. Dad was a music teacher for over 35 years. I told her about his song, then pulled up the Creekwood Choir with Dad and I singing with the choir for her to see and hear.

Dad improved, survived, and after his long recovery where he had to learn to eat, talk, and walk all over again he told me that he was letting go in that ICU and could see his parents, then he heard his song and came back.

–Creekwood did you know that the 2nd part of Dad’s version of God So Loved the World has never been sung – anywhere?

Dad peacefully passed away in the morning November 9, 2023, with his family by his side. I was singing You Raise Me Up as he took his final breaths. In the quiet times of the preceding days, I prayerfully made Dad a promise that somehow, somewhere I would ensure that the entire song is sang – including the 2nd part which is basically the joy of our salvation leading to eternal life. Unlike the first part, the second part is much more melodic, and you will feel the joy and peace when it is eventually sung and recorded. Stay tuned for that someday…

It has been a difficult journey these past few years, watching Dad slowly fade away after beating aspirational pneumonia twice and COVID – each time being a lesser version of himself in body but still having a strong will to live and a sharp mind. I know Dad is singing with a choir of God’s angels in Heaven and am grateful for God’s army of angels that cared and prayed for him and our family and continues to, now and in the weeks and months ahead as we move forward without Dad.

Dad believed that “Without music, the world would Bb (B flat – musical)” and that with a simple change in key, or even just a sharp or flat you can completely change the tone of a song. He also believed that the Hymnal is a book of prayers.

–Creekwood, did you know that there is a Musician’s Prayer in the UMC Hymnal?


Glorious God, source of joy and righteousness,

enable us as redeemed and forgiven children,

evermore to rejoice in singing your praises.

Grant that what we sing with our lips,

we may believe in our hearts,

and what we believe in our hearts,

we may practice in our lives;

so that being doers of the Word and not hearers only,

we may receive everlasting life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

United Methodist Hymnal #69

Fred D. Gealy, USA, 20th cent.; alt. by Laurence Hull Stookey, 1987

Lord, use me as Your instrument.

Steve Bachellor

The Lord is my STRENGTH, and my SONG and has become my SALVATION.

Exodus 15:2 / Psalms 118:4 / Isaiah 12:2