NW | 01099 | The Empire strengthening song left on the floor on Nightingale ward

Romans 8:27-32
 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

I left the town of Tunbridge Wells before the closure of the Kent and Sussex Hospital in 2011. As a Pastor there, I had previously made numerous visits to the sick and dying on those Hospital wards, especially Nightingale Ward, where one night in 1957, a real Nightingale passed from this world to the next, but thankfully, not before leaving us her song.

It is 2016 today, and the present leader of the labour party in Britain, that poor man caught last year in an explosion in an old people’s charity clothes shop (the damaged goods of which not even surgeons have been able to cut from his brown crinkly turtle necky skin,) seems to me to be an affront to that rich Christian socialist seam which once ran though the real old labour party and provided the bloody crimson in the red flag. (Which, apparently, Jeremy has no problem singing.) My parents voted for that kind of labour when Christianity meant something to working people and drove them to Biblical socialism. For today’s Labour, I would not give it tuppence Comrade.

I am a Bible Minister and like most Bible ministers I am center right, though God help me, I am being pushed more right wing each day. Oh that my righteousness would match my right winging! I am also a republican, though unlike some, it is my privilege to sing our prayerful National Anthem for the salvation and prosperity of Her Majesty the Queen. Yes, I am a republican, but I fear God and honor the King and that makes all the difference. I tell you this because the Nightingale who left her song on Nightingale Ward in the old Kent and Susses hospital in 1957 was also an old fashioned Christian socialist who honored the King, who, in turn,

From 1919-1944 our Nightingale taught at the London School of Economics as a tutor in the Social Science Department where the senior tutor described her as: “a woman of unusual capacity and character possessing a rare understanding and sympathy and infinite patience, combined with a great deal of love and interest in people.” Indeed, in 1921 our old Nightingale published, along with Eleanor T.Kelly, a book entitled, ‘Foundations of Industrial Welfare’ which was aimed at promoting “a spirit of co-operation” between worker and employer. This was no academic flight of fancy, however, for previous to her academic tower our Nightingale had run a munitions workers’ hostel in Woolwich, London, (the home of the Royal Arsenal) followed by three years supervising the labor management department of a factory in West Ham and before all of this even, our Nightingale had also already taught Sunday school in Bristol at a local Congregational Church, and worked in Lambeth for the Springfield Hall Wesleyan Methodist mission. Later from 1907, for five years,  she then labored in Madras India with the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society and the Zenana mission to women, where she also mastered the Tamil language. After returning to England to study midwifery, and then going back to India again to put it all into practice, she was thwarted in her mission in India due to illness, and so was forced to return to Britain. She recovered enough, however, to write 2 novels, several other books and work a further 25 years at the LSE! I am tired out just writing about her!honored her greatly and immortalized her song.

Our Nightingales strong song was first heard on the radio in 1939, sung out by a stuttering sovereign trying to galvanize a people in the face of a terrible darkness. This Kings Speech was again coaxed into the ears of a waiting world by a speech therapist called Lionel Logue who specialized in teaching Kings to sing. The song of the Nightingale may have been sung to the Empire on that day in 1939, however, it was written in 1908, 31 years previously to its world broadcast and was published by our Nightingale in 1912 in a little book of Poems called ‘The Desert,’ whose only purpose was to raise funds for her mission in India! Published and then forgotten fr over 30 years! Ah, but we have our publication dates

In 1939 King George the 6th in his Christmas broadcast rightly said that he believed in his heart that, “the cause which binds together my peoples and our gallant and faithful Allies is the cause of Christian civilisation. On no other basis can a true civilisation be built.” I say to you tonight, that under the judgement of God, in 2016 as Islam now takes to the stage in Europe, we shall need to remind our grandchildren that we were once a Christian nation, galvanized long time ago by a Christian Nightingale’s song when we at last faced a great darkness together. Look now, the Nightingale’s Christian song was so powerful that it is inscribed in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on the gates to King George VI’s own memorial, and the words were even used in the conclusion of the order of service for the Queen Mother’s funeral, and even our present monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II said of the song that, “These words meant much to my father and he hoped that they would be remembered by all who dedicated themselves to the service of God and the nation.” Yes, we were once a Christian nation, and here Nightingales used to sing.and then God has His!

Concerning the future, only God knows, but be assured of this, dark times are coming. Even so let us by faith not allow the terrorizing of present events to rock our sure confidence in the good Providences of our great God. Finally tonight then, to remind us of who we were once as a nation, and who we are even now as the remnant people of God facing this present darkness together, here is the song left on Nightingale Ward in 1957 when Minnie Louise Haskins went to be with her Lord. My friends remember. God is great and God is good and God is merciful to those who turn to Him and repenteance and faith. Lift your head up tonight and trust in Him.


God Knows’ – by Nightingale Minnie Louise Haskins

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.
God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.
Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

Pray:   Father, we believe from our heart that the only cause which binds together any peoples and
all our gallant and faithful Allies is the cause of Christian civilization. On no other
basis can a true civilisation be built. Help us Father, through the dark times ahead of us that you will help us see peace and righteousness kiss each other.  For this we most sincerely pray. A new year is at hand. We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continued struggle we shall remain undaunted. In the meantime let us all be strengthened and encouraged by the message in this Nightingales song.  Meanwhile O Father, may Your Almighty hand, guide and uphold us all. Am en and let it be so.

 ‘I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, “Give me a light that I may tread
safely into the unknown.” And he replied, “Go out into the darkness, and put
your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and
safer than a known way.”‘  

(Adapted  from King George VI’S 1939 Christmas speech)

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