Sunday, February 12, 2012

Child of the Light

My first solo in church was at the age of nine.  My father, our choir director, asked me to sing the offertory hymn - alone - in front of several hundred people - all eyes on me.  A daunting request for a child, right?  Nope, I couldn't wait to rock the house!  The song was newly composed in the '70's and called, "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light."  I loved the simple melody and lyric and, though I was trembling as I approached the microphone, I think I knew that this song was about me.  Even prior to my studying subtext later in my career. I knew this felt familiar somehow, and I lived the text. 

After that mass, the song became a sort of family anthem.  We sang it at each grandchild's baptism...or at least 13 of the 16 that I can remember.  It was comforting.  It was our history.

It went out of print for a while, and I missed hearing it at Mass.  Five years ago, unbeknownst to me, it resurfaced in our hymnal.  My grandmother had just passed away, and I was having a really difficult time getting beyond my mourning.  One Sunday, I asked God to help me move on.  Low and behold that day at church, for the first time in probably 15 years, "Child of the Light" was on the docket.  I wept and wept during church (so much so that our minister of music approached me at the end of Mass and asked if I was okay.  How embarrassing!  I told her the significance of that particular song on that particular day and thanked her for listening to God's direction while choosing her music.).  The chorus was always the most uplifting to me:  "In Him there is no darkness at all.  The night and the day are both alike.  The Lamb is the light of the city of God.  Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus."

Yesterday, I woke up in my parents' home, the second day caring for my dad while my mom is away.  Friday was good, but we hadn't found our groove yet.  I prayed about it, just deciding to be myself.  "No way to fill my mother's shoes," I thought,  "so best to just follow my instincts.  Show me the way, God."  We sat down to breakfast - Daddy with two pieces of cinnamon toast and I with the Fiber One cereal I toted in my suitcase to Alabama.  I asked, "Daddy, do you mind if I read my devotional aloud?  I always read it at breakfast."  He said, "I think that would be a marvelous idea."  So I proceeded to read one book's entry; a second book's entry ("Well that just couldn't be any clearer," he commented.); lastly, I read the Scripture passage aloud that was referenced for my second journal.  1 John 1:4-5:  "We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.  Now this is the message that we have heard from Him and proclaim to you:  God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all."  (my italics)

I looked up puzzled, wracking my brain for the familiarity of that phrase.  "'In Him there is no darkness at all.'  I love that line.  How do I know it?"  Daddy and I just looked at each other.  Then it dawned on me that I had heard it in a song...but where?  The melody came to me, and I started singing aloud.  It was the chorus of our family anthem!  How fitting and beautiful that God sent me this message on this seemingly daunting day...a reminder that He is watching, helping, guiding each moment of each day.  Daddy and I spent the rest of the day in comfort, me consciously and he unconsciously, realizing that we were meant to be together today and each day of my mother's absence.

(Postscript from Cynthia later in the day:  I just realized after rereading the above Scripture passage that the one referenced in my book was John 1:4-5, not 1 John 1:4-5.  I am convinced now more than ever that this message was intentionally sent for me.  How else could I have known to look up the "wrong" but exact verse that was special to my family?  Amazing grace, how sweet today.)

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