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February 19, 2023 - #4875 Music & the Spoken Word

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Conductor: Ryan Murphy
Organist: Andrew Unsworth
Announcer: Lloyd D. Newell

“My God Is So High”
African American spiritual
Arrangement: Ryan Murphy

“For the Beauty of the Earth”1
Music: John Rutter
Lyrics: Folliott S. Pierpoint

“Sweet Is the Work” (organ solo)
Music: John J. McClellan
Arrangement: Andrew Unsworth

“Simple Gifts”
Traditional Shaker hymn
Arrangement: Ryan Murphy

“We Thank Thee, Lord, for This New Day”
Music: Mack Wilberg
Lyrics: David Warner

“Have I Done Any Good?”2
Music and lyrics: Will L. Thompson
Arrangement: David A. Zabriskie

“Fill the World with Love,” from Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Music and lyrics: Leslie Bricusse
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

  1.  From the album Consider the Lilies.
  2. From the album Let Us All Press On.

The Spoken Word

Don’t Ever Give Up

It was a cold, snowy December day in 1891, and the students at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, were getting restless. Their physical education teacher, James Naismith, decided they needed something they could do indoors. So he got two peach baskets from the janitor, nailed them to the balcony on either end of the gym 10 feet from the floor, and handed the boys a ball. Some suggested that he call this new game “Naismith Ball,” but he simply called it “basket ball.”1

Since then, basketball’s popularity has gone global. It’s become far more than just something to do when it’s cold outside. Like sports of all kinds, basketball captures our imagination because it gives expression to fundamental principles of life. Every game begins with both teams equal—at zero. You get ahead by playing as a team, staying within the boundaries, working hard, and balancing power and speed with grace and precision. If you fall behind, there’s not one grand thing you can do to come back. You get back in the game one basket at a time.

Three decades ago, the beloved basketball coach Jim Valvano, who was battling cancer, received a humanitarian award. In his acceptance speech, he expressed some truths about perseverance and consistency that he likely learned from basketball. “There are three things we all should do every day,” he said. “Number one is laugh. … Number two is think. … Number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think and you cry, that’s a full day. … You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

Coach Valvano started an organization to raise money for cancer research. Its motto, which also seems to have come from basketball, is “Don’t give up ... don’t ever give up.”

“And that’s what I’m going to try to do every minute that I have left,” the coach went on to say. “I will thank God for the day and the moment I have.”2

We all fall behind in the game of life sometimes. When we do, we can thank God for each day He gives us and use it to laugh, think, cry, and work our way back—one basket at a time.

  1. See Christopher Klein, “Who Invented Basketball?,” History Stories, Aug. 15, 2022,
  2. “Full Jim Valvano ESPY Speech Transcript,”