As our congregation sang “How Great Thou Art” I was taken on a trip down Memory Lane once again. Now don’t think I live entirely in memories of days gone by. Not so. I live very much in the present, but I do enjoy the occasional trip down Memory Lane.
Our church is a very small congregation, but when we join our hearts and voices in singing a song we love, a song that touches our collective heart, we can make the rafters ring. Well, not quite, but you get the idea.
My mind took flight to some years ago, when some of us were on a mission trip in Quito, Ecuador. On those many trips we worked all day, returned to our place of lodging, showered, and had supper. Then we spent evenings holding evangelistic services, sometimes open air street services.
There was little idle time but we always came home physically spent but renewed because we were totally involved in God’s work. Though physically taxing, it was spiritually uplifting.
It was the last night of our tour, and we were in a service in a very poor area of the city. We had worked here on several previous trips, so we knew some of the other worshipers, though we couldn’t sit down and visit with them due to the language barrier.
As part of the service, we sang “How Great Thou Art.” The unusual thrill of it? We were singing one tune in three different languages! We Americans in English, of course, while the locals sang in Spanish or in their native Quichua tongue. It thrilled me then, as it does every time I remember that service, to think God understood every person’s language just as He understood every person’s heart!
I have many rich remembrances of those trips to Ecuador – the teams as a whole and the teens from our own church, who accompanied us. I know those teens are different adults today because of their experiences on the mission field.
Another song that always takes me elsewhere is “Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing.” This trip is a bit shorter – just to Chicago. We frequently sang this song in chapel and convocation services at Moody Bible Institute. It always seemed so appropriate because there were roughly 1,000 students enrolled when I attended there and chapel and convocation services were part of our regular schedule. So that song takes me to Torrey Gray Auditorium, where I am singing with the other 999 to make a thousand tongues.
In my volunteer work with Kelly at a nursing home in Oregon, early on I met a priest who is a resident in the home. I thought he looked familiar. As time went on, I finally put it all together as we were visiting. “Father Joe, didn’t you come to Cardinal Strick School when I was presenting the work of Assistance Dogs there?” He smiled, and said yes, he had been there. He probably had it all figured out the first day we visited the home but just waited for me to figure it out. More memories.
So what good are memories? They keep us company. They encourage us. They remind us of other times when we were in service to our God.
But the greatest memory for any of us is to remember the time when we heard Jesus knocking at the door of our heart (Rev. 3:20), opened that door, and invited Him in. That memory is truly a keeper. One not to be forgotten. One not to allow to fade.
Do you have such a memory? If not, you need to meet Jesus face to face and open your heart’s door to Him. That is vital if you want to spend eternity in heaven.