How Great Thou Art

We gathered together like we do each month.   We sit facing our audience who waits expectantly.  They are a beautiful bunch, this gathered assembly.  I smile as I glance at their now familiar faces.

How Great Thou Art

We sing about the sweet by and by and the lily of the valley, some join in with our motley little choir, others simply nod along as the familiar words touch a soft spot in tired hearts and wearing out bodies.  As we begin a new song, I watch the tears come to cataract-blinded eyes.

Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Those mouths that form so few words these days now whisper gently the beloved strains of their youth.  And we continue.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee.  How great Thou art. How great Thou art.

He stands slowly, a grin on his face as he pulls out his rusted tambourine and slowly the gentle rhythm of the tiny cymbals mixes with the old, out-of-tune piano and the voices of those who have lived life long enough to know the days of sorrow and pain.  And we sing strong and pure.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee.  How great Thou art. How great Thou art.

As the last note ends the tambourine player bows his head low in the sacred of that moment, I peek at him.  I couldn’t help it.  I had to see his face … and y’all, it was glowing.  

There in that yellow community room at the nursing home, a man whose thick tongue makes his words difficult to understand had used his old, constantly shaking hands to worship.   I felt the tears begin to well up in my eyes and I whispered a word of thanks for having been in such a holy place.

Later we sang about being glad to be part of the family of God and I looked around that room at withering bodies and faltering minds and again I whispered thanks.  The gift that day wasn’t our being there … it wasn’t even the man who played the tambourine … it was the sweet presence of God in that place.  So real and thick I could have touched it.

We prayed one more time and then stood, all who could, to sing the precious old hymn.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun.  We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, then when we first begun.

As I shook hands and thanked our friends for letting us come and share their morning, I realize once again how much God loves the widows and the orphans … how He calls us to come alongside and serve.  But most of all, He calls us to love.

The Lord is great and is highly praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation will declare your works to the next
and will proclaim your mighty acts

Psalm 145:3-4

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