The last three Saturdays have been wonderful experiences of God’s blessing and grace through his servants.
On the first of those Saturdays, May 16, I joined over a hundred other folks to celebrate the 100th birthday of Amy Perkins at the fire hall in Cuddy. The testimonies given- one after another- spoke of a woman of faith that overflowed in a love that is deep and wide. Declared Mother of the Church by her First Baptist congregation, sister Amy’s love touched all manner of folks- all generations, black and white, rich and poor, family and neighbor, church and community. Quiet, steady, practical, wise…she showed and still shows her love not by flashiness but faithfulness. On that Saturday I got a glimpse of faithfulness. We all did.
The next week I had the privilege of presiding over the church wedding of Michael Talerico and Xuelai Wu. Michael is a member of Bethany and Xuelai (“Sherlie”) is from the city of Canton in China. Having been married by a Justice of the Peace, they wanted to reaffirm their vows before God, family and friends in a worship serviced. And oh was it worship! Since they met through their studies in music ( she accompanied him as he sang ), they made sure it was filled with music of praise to God. The service began with a rousing contemporary song with a praise band and then flowed into a REALLY rousing classical piece on the organ ( that John Henninger can really rock!). Later friends of Michael and Xuelai played and sang a hymn out of the black gospel tradition; then after saying his marriage vows, Michael sang The Lord’s Prayer…or God sang through him. I am telling you, this young man sang it from the inside out, and when it was done, we were transported to the throne of God. On that Saturday I got a glimpse of glory. We all did.
On the next Saturday, last Saturday, we gathered for the Memorial Service for Marian Harold, a member of Bethany. Right up to the end of her eighty-eight years, Marian was sharp, alert and passionate about life. She loved music- sang it and played it wherever she lived and worshipped, including at Bethany. In her apartment was her piano still stacked high with music ready for playing. And it was filled with pictures everywhere, proudly displaying her love and joy for her family. Also proudly on display was her Bethany Bicentennial blanket. Marian loved her church. At the end of her life ( at the home of her son, Bob ) she was resting in that same Bethany Bicentennial blanket as she entered the embrace of her Savior. On that Saturday as we remembered Marian and her savior, I got a glimpse of love. We all did.
Three Saturdays…three glimpses…of grace
They are everywhere, these glimpses of grace. They are in the people around us who model faithfulness in their love, in whom we can see Jesus. They are in the beauty around us, beauty that transports us to the throne of God. They are in the people around us who are brimming with passion for life and love for others. All we have to do is look and listen with a heart open to the glory and wonder of God in the grand and ordinary stuff of life.
Where do you see glimpses of grace?
I know one place: as we worship on Sunday. See you there.
Here is some key information to note: