Memorial Day… pre-salvation it was holiday meant for family picnics and outings. The loss of family brought so much sadness to my heart that I chose to push it into the recesses of my mind and vowed I’d deal with it “later.” Later finally came by the way of grace and mercy, but not until. In an unsaved state I could find no goodness in death. But on the other side… oh glory… tears well up in my eyes and my soul threatens to burst from my heart when I think of the death of God’s saints now!
I was invited to sing once again, for probably the 15th year, at a Memorial Day Service at Minnie Hamilton Health System, our local Nursing Home facility. I can see some of you flinching now at the thought of such a heart wrenching service. Open your eyes… it’s fine! It’s a service I look forward to every year, because in no way is it a sad service for me. As they read the names of patients who have passed away over the 17 years of the facility, I looked back on my ministry in that place. I’ve been saved 19 years, and when the facility opened God burdened my heart to be a part of it, and what a blessing it has been! I had been touched by almost every name on that list in some way. By their smile, their encouragement to me as a singer and to praise my work for the glory of Jesus Christ. He is Worthy!
Psalm 145:4-7 says:
One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.
What a privilege it is to be a part of the Word of God. I am “that” generation. And many of those nursing home residents who have gone on to glory have been that to me, and comedic relief as well!
Not long after I started visiting the nursing home and trying to encourage them, a tiny little lady (a societal sort) bellowed to the aid delivering her lunch, “A peanut butter sandwich, you people charge me $3,000 dollars a month for a peanut butter sandwich!” I still laugh today and can hear the curtness in her voice. In the Nursing Home’s defense there was more on her plate than that, but she was not impressed! I will also enter here that Minnie Hamilton is one of the top 10 Nursing home facilities in the state… it’s a great place. They just didn’t impress Miss Ena that day!
Another resident was a man crippled from birth, named George. No brighter smile was ever seen for the glory of the Lord than this man. He viewed his time there as ministry and wheeled himself bed to bed to make sure every soul was saved. Oh goodness, how can I be sad to have known such a man.
I sat in awe for many years as I watched a husband come daily with a chocolate pudding cup and a Hershey ® bar, and feed it bit by bit to his disabled wife following her lunch. He lovingly stroked her hair, and told Este how much he loved her…
Often times as I’ve ministered in song using a standard hymn, I’d notice a patient who didn’t even know their name or family mouth ever word of that hymn that God had seared into their mind.
I discovered a distant cousin one day on my journey through the halls and she was quite the character! “Po Ol’ thing” she’d say about the other residents. Not realizing she was one too, she assumed she was there for entertainment.
My Magistrate Court lunch break for many years was spent with Miss Hettie and Miss Mabel where it was like a tea party every day to be in their presence. I have good memories…
It’s not all roses and sunshine. There were days that I wept, but they were tears of compassion and when God called them home I rejoiced! And now we memorialize them because God said to remember the work they did for Him. My question for us all is will it be likewise done for us? Have you told someone about Jesus today? Go tell it on the mountain… over the hills and everywhere…