Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fifty years and beyond

Today I came across a good story in a religious journal over 100 years old (Evangelical Visitor, Brethren in Christ, 1887), so I googled its source to see if it was on-line (so I wouldn't have to retype it). Google has scanned many old books, so I did find "Fifty years and beyond; or gathered gems for the aged," by S.G. Lathrop, 1881 (has been reprinted in 2007--the boomers are entering old age!). The story reminds me very much of one I've heard Pastor John Stolzenbach (UALC) tell of his ministry to some of our older members, who although they may have dementia and don't remember their own family members, remember the words to hymns, liturgy and Bible verses they learned long ago.

The author tells of singing the song of salvation with a 98 year old man--"quick [modern] music loses its charm" (even in 1881)--and then goes on to tell this story. From the chapter, "The Lord is my strength and my song." p. 140

"Do you know me?" said the wife to her aged husband who was dying. He said, "No."

And the son said, "Father, do you know me?" He said, "No."

The daughter said, "Father, do you know me?" He said, "No."

The minister of the Gospel standing by, said, "Do you know Jesus?" "Oh yes," he said, "I know him, 'chief among ten thousand, and one altogether lovely'."

Blessed be the Bible in which spectacled old age reads the promise. "I will never leave you, never forsake you." Blessed the staff on which the worn out pilgrim totters on toward the welcome of his Redeemer. Blessed the hymn-book in which the faltering tongue and the failing eyes find Jesus, the old man's song."

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