Thursday, September 08, 2011

Leaning on the everlasting arms

We sang that old hymn at the dockside service at Lakeside last Sunday, Sept. 4. Published in 1887, it tells of the assurance of God's steadfast care and guidance in tough times, and offers the peace of a relationship with him. I grew up in the Church of the Brethren where I don't recall we sang anything that had a beat--and then in 1974 became a Lutheran and they missed out on those twangy camp songs too, being mostly ethnic Scandinavians (in our synod). The first time I heard it was in Flat Creek, Kentucky in 1956 where my sister Carol was a volunteer church worker through Brethren Volunteer Service. Because she was only 19 at the time, and I was her "little" sister, I was stunned at the level of spiritual and social responsibility she had. Like riding horseback into the mountains to provide Sunday school in areas that had no passable roads; working in the garden and taking care of chickens (and plucking them) for food for the staff (I think there were 5 people living in a little house); helping the local women with sewing and. . . leading hymns like this one. In that area of the country it was sung like a dirge and a capella--not peppy and clappy the way we did it at dockside with an electronic organ. Carol went to be with the Lord in 1996, but everytime I hear "Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms," I think of that amazing, fearless teen-ager. Now I keep track of her 5 grandchildren (4 teens) on Facebook, Will, Jenny, Rachel, Catie and Chris.

Carol's BVS unit 1955. Wearing white blouse, looking between two women in the second row. She also helped flood victims in Pennsylvania, canvassed a neighborhood in Denver for a church plant, and was a "guinea pig" for the NIH. In 1957 she entered Goshen College in Indiana where she got her RN.

No comments: