It could be that we sang it Sunday.
But, confession: holy as I am, I usually am not humming the tunes to Sunday’s hymns on Wednesday.
Turns out, humming “For All the Saints” today was just because it was meant to be the soundtrack of the day.
I first suspected this when I learned that a friend who has been a member of Calvary since the 1930s (!) had been rushed to the hospital. When I finally found her in the ICU I knew this was goodbye . . . it’s already been too many times that I have seen the tubes and heard the artificial sounds of manufactured life.
The feeling that evoked was a deep squeezing in my gut, a formal awareness that time, once again, has marched on by, and that I was saying goodbye to one of the saints, in every sense of the word.
I held her hand for awhile and recalled some of our history together . . . which, given the fact that it has only been 5 years, pales in comparison to many of her relationships with other members of the church. She is the one who told me story after story about the history of this church, the source I would consult every time I had a question about history-since she had lived through most of it. She was unfailingly faithful, always encouraging . . . this church was her life. Would that I could be 94 and still visiting the church website first thing Monday morning to read the sermon (and not shy about commenting, either!).
No, I think, as usual, it’s no coincidence I’ve been humming For All the Saints today. Because if we should sing it for anyone, we should certainly sing it for Laura, and maybe, just maybe, she’ll hear the strains ushering her right in as she steps into glory:
For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Laura, I hope you know: I will miss you. Save me a spot.