Monday, November 08, 2010

three hankie service

Yesterday was a three hankie church service.


First a video showing several different families giving thanks (prelude to Thanksgiving);
one large family giving thanks to God (typical Norman Rockwell),

the next showed an elderly couple - the man prayed and gave thanks to God for their many blessings, while the woman stared off in the distance (some form of dementia?),

the next vignette showed a young mother and her daughter giving thanks. On the nightstand was a picture of the husband/father in uniform.

And the last was a man in a wheelchair. By himself, except for his two dogs, he gave thanks for his food and asked God to watch out for his children, wherever they were.

I Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Next, came a video and talk regarding Operation Christmas Child. A little girl, whose parents were married in our church, died the summer we moved here from a rare form of childhood cancer. One of our neighbor's granddaughters died a few weeks later of the same rare form of childhood cancer. These girls are both featured on this website.

Emily's church packed 300 Operation Christmas Child boxes in her memory. The second video featured this project. It turns out (coincidentally? I think not) that Emily's dad and sister were at our church yesterday. No one knew they would be there.

Our Women's Missionary Union handed out 300 boxes for people to pack.

While the video about Emily's short life was playing, I noticed that the lady in front of me was wiping away tears. Her grown daughter died a few years ago. In front of her a friend who's son was killed in a motorcycle accident last summer. Next to her another friend was crying softly. Her first husband, her sister and her mother all died within the past few years.

Scanning the congregation I saw 5 women who had been widowed in the last three years (one last month). And one lady who was diagnosed with breast cancer last week, as well as a friend who was also diagnosed with another form of cancer last week.

College classmates commemorated the 8th anniversary of the daughter's death over the weekend.

So much sadness and pain! And yet, so much joy. We do not grieve like those who have no hope. I Thessalonians 4:13

My college classmates posted this hymn on facebook on Saturday. When you read it through the eyes of grief, it takes on a whole new meaning.

Be Still, My Soul

1. Be still, my soul:
the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently
the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God
to order and provide;
In every change,
He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul:
thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways
leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul:
thy God doth undertake
To guide the future,
as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence
let nothing shake;
All now mysterious
shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul:
the waves and winds
still know His voice
Who ruled them
while He dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul:
when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened
in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know
His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe
thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul:
thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness
all He takes away.

4. Be still, my soul:
the hour is hastening on
When we shall be
forever with the Lord.
When disappointment,
grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot,
love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul:
when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed
we shall meet at last.

5. Be still, my soul:
begin the song of praise
On earth, believing,
to thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him
in all thy works and ways,
So shall He view
thee with a well-pleased eye.
Be still, my soul:
the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds
shall but more brightly shine.

Words: Katharina A. von Schlegel

Translated: Jane Borthwick
Music: Jean Sibelius

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