Surprising Connections

Thursday, May 8

Close Up of MusicBy Nancy Hylton of Seattle, Washington, USA

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

—Psalm 98:4–6 NRSV

While planning a memorial service for my mother’s husband, I wanted to include songs and hymns that had been special to him. I wanted to honor Paul’s long life of faith and discipleship.

They married at 86 years old and had fewer than three years together. His love and tender care made this short time happy for my mother. He was my late father’s cousin, and my grandmother was his favorite aunt.

Among the surprises that God sprung on me was the connection with an old church song. A friend of my mother’s had heard US President Jimmy Carter preach while visiting in Georgia. He asked the congregation to sing a favorite song, “He Keeps Me Singing.”

The friend returned home and shared how this song reminded her of Paul. With this news, I went to the Internet to find the song. Much to my surprise, I found I knew the song from childhood, but only by the first line, “There’s within my heart a melody…”

My grandmother sang it to me as a child many times, but I had not heard it for 55 years. I included it in the memorial service, and it dawned on me that my grandmother might also have sung it to Paul as a child.

Connections are special gifts, and sometimes they come as quiet little surprises. Now I hear the refrain in my head. “Jesus, Jesus. Jesus, sweetest name I know, fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go” (words and music by Luther B. Bridgers, 1884–1948).

Prayer for Peace
God of the past, present, and future, we thank you for foundations laid by our predecessors, on whose strong shoulders we stand. We thank you for traditions that keep us singing and for mentors and teachers who show us how to be closer to you.

Spiritual Practice: Spiritual Learning
Meditate on a time when you learned about community from someone who took you in, fed you, taught you, shared stories and wisdom with you. What did you learn? Prayerfully create a list of qualities you need to learn from spiritual mentors and friends. Then write the names of people who serve as teachers, models, coaches, or encouragers in your life as a disciple. Offer a prayer of gratitude and blessing for these spiritual “relatives” and friends.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will search my memory and ponder some favorite, old hymns.

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  1. Susan Gregory

     /  12 May 2014

    What a wonderful story/testimony. I particularly love that they got married so late in life – how wonderful to have a loving companion to share life with!

  2. Diane Akers

     /  8 May 2014

    Thanks! You touched my heart and tears!


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