I had a good chuckle at church last night. It was Holy Thursday service and I absolutely love that service. Yes, (for those of you who know me well) I love it for more than a big swig of wine out of the goblet! The message and the music touch my heart in a way that is so endearing.
It is a tradition that my Dad and I go to this service together. Each year there seems to be a Holy Spirit moment, something special, some wondrous gift. I am grateful to have my Dad there to share those moments with me. It is also so meaningful to feel so loved and welcome at my home church. I love how people make their way to me before or after the service, thanking me for driving the hour and 14 minutes just to come to church. I feel like I should be thanking each and every one of them because my community, my family at Mount Olive Lutheran Church is what makes it home for me.
This year’s gift came as a reminder of both my grandmothers. We did not even sing How Great Thou Art, it was actually today, Good Friday as I was sitting and reflecting on the service that I made the connection. You see, I love to sing the familiar hymns in church, some I just know the words by heart and they bring so much soothing to my soul. When it is one of those songs that touch my heart I seem to sing a little louder. Not even really caring who might be listening, it just soulfully makes me feel better. Music is so healing! Sometimes even a tear of joy will roll down my cheek as I actually believe with all my heart that the words of the song are the words the Lord wants me to hear and believe, not just at that moment, but to carry it away in my heart as I depart and go my own way. The more I sing, the more I believe. The more I believe those words, the happier I become and the more joyful I am.
On this particular Holy Thursday service, as we were lining up for communion, waiting to approach the Lord’s Table, singing loudly, knowing and believing that all my sins would be forgiven. The words coming out of me freely, knowingly and soulfully, made the experience so graceful and serene. As we returned to our seats my dad leaned over and asked if I noticed the music got very loud while we were up at the altar. I giggled and said ‘are you saying Valerie shouldn’t sing so loud’ we both started to giggle. My Grandma Val was once asked to not sing so loudly at church. She kept singing as she did because that is who she was. You see she wasn’t out to impress the others in her pew or the surrounding pews she was singing to the Lord and continued to do so until she was not able to go to church and sing any longer.
The coolest thing is I have two grandmas that loved to sign hymns. Some days when How Great Thou Art plays I can hear my Grandma Ruthie’s beautiful voice hitting every high note so perfectly; it is like she is sitting next to me, like she was all those years before. Those memories will last my life time! My Grandma Val loved to sing too, her favorite hymn was Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee. There are times I can hear her sing too. She might not have had the same pitch and tone as my Grandma Ruthie but what they both shared was the love of Jesus and the love of singing His songs and His praises, joyfully and soulfully.
I am not sure which Grandmother I take after with my singing, I guess a little of both, maybe!?
What I do know is I am grateful for being raised in a family with solid spiritual roots. It is something I carried with me my entire life. It is something that has saved my life. It is something that has enabled me to grow spiritually in the direction I have. More than that, it has made me who I am today.
As for today, especially today, Good Friday, I am thankful for the blood of Jesus that has washed away my sins, your sins and the sins of the world. Blessed be His name, blessed be His glorious name! I think, Thou Art is pretty great!
I hope you find time to sing His songs and His praises, loudly and joyfully!
Happy Easter ❤