Notes from Jan

About Those Pearly Gates

May 4, 2017

Tonight we wrap up the New Testament class at church.

When I read John’s description of the holy city with pearly gates  in Revelation 21,  my mind flashed back to my Norwegian grandfather, Elias Tveten.

Years ago, grandpa beckoned me to take my seat at their old upright piano in Brooklyn, New York.  He loved to sing.

“What would you like to sing, Grandpa?”

“Da pearly gates, den Trust and Obey.”

Grandpa stood erect, all  6′ plus, blessed with a thick head of white hair and fjord-blue eyes.  Never one to slouch, he rested one hand atop the upright, planted his feet as if getting ready to sing one of the world’s great arias, which for him, it was.

Actually, it wasn’t the pearly gates or  golden streets  drew forth the song but “tinking” about Yee-sus…  Jesus, the One who’d welcome him some day to a prepared place, something worth singing about when you grew up  an angry, lonely orphan in Norway.    Imagine what it would mean to hear Yee-sus say, “Elias, come on in. You’re home” in Norwegian!

When we got to the chorus,  Grandpa pumped his fist into the air, like he’d received the greatest gift, which he had.

He da pearly gates vill open, so dat I may enter in; for he purchased my redemption, and forgave me all my sin.”

Grandpa might not have gotten all the pronunciations correct, but he knew who to tank for redemption and forgiveness,  then simply ‘Trust and Obey.”

I’m now as old as he, when he bid me play so he could sing.

Sweet memory.

Good reminder to be willing to sit and play so someone else can sing.  You never know when it’ll come with one of life’s large lessons, a God gift.

Tusen takk, Grandpa. (a thousand thanks)




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  • Reply wendy lane May 4, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    That’s beautiful! Your Mom’s Dad? I always love your family stories. <3

  • Reply Helen Demsko May 4, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    What an inheritance – can’t play , don’t sing with accent but know the words from those already there! Happy memories and great anticipation!

  • Reply Randall K Mathews May 4, 2017 at 3:32 pm


    I have fond memories of my father singing and my mother playing our Baby Grand some of the their old favorite hymns. This happened after the Sunday evening service at our Methodist church. If I remember correctly, my three older siblings added their voices to the weekly hymn sing. Regrettably, one doesn’t hear of these family times. So glad that you had them with Grandpa Elias.

  • Reply Dale Lefever May 4, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks for the reminder of the importance of making memories. We are with our son and family i OR and hope our time will be remembered.

    Blessings, Dale

  • Reply Dan Russ May 5, 2017 at 6:01 am

    Tusen takk, Jan!

  • Reply Nancy Sheys May 5, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Jan, what a blessed reminder of Jesus’ love of his beloved people! It was such a comfort to me, especially since losing my beloved husband. I didn’ release him to nothingness, but immediately to the arms of Jesus! I must only trust and obey!

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