Saturday, Gordon College held a Remembrance Celebration, a service to remember Gordon connected folks who’ve died in the past couple of years and to “give thanks for the lives and work of those who have shaped our Gordon community.”
When I first walked into the recital hall at the Phillips Music Center, I was taken, again, by the view through the wall of windows facing Coy Pond. As I lowered my eyes from the scene outdoors, I saw draped tables lined with potted daffodils and in front of them stood small easels holding the faces of many who were being remembered.
Jud smiled at me through one of my favorite shots of him, taken in his last weeks at Gordon. His hair tousled, collar undone, eyes crinkled, smiling, signs of someone at ease, secure in God’s love and purpose for him and the place he was leaving in a few weeks.
Robin MacLeod, Rita Dove and I huddled together. Remembering. Behind us, Pat McKay and across the way, Louise Midwood, Marv and Polly Wilson. So many others.
As the worship leader wove melodies together on the piano, lines from hymns walked in like old friends. “Morning by morning new mercies I see…” Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow…” “Stayed upon Jehovah hearts are fully blest…” ,”In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song.” Memory’s gifts.
Paul Edwards recounted a story of sheepherding with his uncle. He used the image of a small mound of rocks, a cairn, to illustrate a way of remembering both places and people. Soon the narrative connected us and those who’ve died with The Good Shepherd. President Lindsay reminded us that “our future runs through our past” and expressed gratitude for those who came before. It was a sweet and thoughtful time in a familiar place.
When we sang, My Jesus I Love Thee, I reached for a kleenex. Over the years, we often sang that hymn, since the tune was written by A.J. Gordon, our founder. In my thirties when we arrived at Gordon, I focused more on “for Thee all the follies of sin I resign.” Now, in my seventies, it’s “I’ll love Thee in life, I will love thee in death and praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath.”
Good to remember,
Love God and sing.
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Thanks for sharing Jan. Good to share memories and those meaningful hymns and song. Interesting Paul Edwards there as he was at First Baptist WLA after my dad and conducted the memorial service for him. A great guy.
Hope you are doing well.
As I read your piece, Jan, I thought (I don’t know why) of an affirmation I would hear each Sunday in the morning service at the Duke University chapel, “In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone.”
Jim!!! Bless you for sharing that affirmation. It’s one I need to have confirmed over and over about my husband. Thank you!
Thank you for huddling with Robin and me. You two held me up. Much love…
I love this Jan … and you! “Blessed assurance Jesus is mine ; oh what a foretaste of heaven devine …” I’m not sure if those are the right words, but they are now! ❤️❌⭕️
What a precious time . . . nothing like those old wonderful hymns to bring comfort to still-aching hearts. Now, I’m grabbling for my Kleenex! Love you, sweet friend!
Jan, it was an honor to play for you all. Thanks for your thoughts.
Jan, thank you for sharing this. And I heard that my dear David’s name was read. What an honor and dear gesture that was. And Indeed, the words ” I’ll love Thee in life and I will love Thee in death and praise Thee as long as thou lendest me breath” has new meaning for me these days. Love thinking of Dave and Jud’s name was read together as they are truly home together now and for that we can offer praise. And have finally, I think, logged in so that I don’t miss these!
So grateful for the way you so faithfully use your gifts. May you feel His pleasure.