Today is my sister Susannah’s birthday. Two years ago she passed away just days before she would have turned 48 and this past September I passed that milestone. I must admit, she has been on my mind. Often when I hear a song beautifully song, I find myself welling up with tears as I remember I will never again hear her voice and am deeply saddened.
Last summer at Beechwood Church in Holland, Michigan Paul Ter Beek, the organist, gave me a hug a encouraged me with the words that the angels in heaven sure got lucky because they had one heck of an organist added to their choir. The thought that the cancer had not silenced her voice was really a comfort.
Two days ago Sayuri and I led a Christmas worship service at a woman’s gathering which was followed by a meal and a presentation we made about church life in America.
As a part of that I showed a video I made showing clips from various worship services along with some still photos with Japanese subtitles added to Chris Rice’s “Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus).
The final verse has a photo which was taken at gathering of retired RCA Missionaries to Japan which was held several years ago because I thought it fit nicely.
And with your final heartbeat,
Kiss the world goodbye,
Then go in peace, and laugh on glory’s side… and
Fly to Jesus,Fly to Jesus,Fly to Jesus and live,
While I was showing it to the group of women this week I found myself getting a little misty eyed as I noticed Evon Laman’s smile and realized just how appropriate it was. This past year after a lengthy battle with diabetes Evon flew to Jesus.
All but a handful of the fifty women who gathered that day know Jesus. They do not know what it means to laugh with Jesus, cry with Jesus, fall on Jesus and be lifted up by Jesus. What I do hope is that they were able to understand that as Christians even our sad songs are songs of hope. We shed tears at the loss of loved ones but we also live with assurance that we will indeed fly to Jesus and be embraced by his love.
I know where both Susannah and Evon are right now. And I know some day we will be joining them.