of 1969 and the old, old story

He’s old, though I’m not sure how old. His voice is a bit soft and I’m straining to hear. The microphone turns up and I breathe deep in relief. I didn’t want to miss it. 1969. That’s what he said. In 1969 he found Jesus.

Right there, where he heard truth, he bowed his knee low before the Creator.

“My wife,” he began and then stopped. His face was joyful but the words are still painful, even in good times, “she is in a nursing home now. Waiting for the day she’ll be called to her true home.” Then all pain slips away and he’s smiling. “And we’ll both be going. Right to heaven.”

And his song begins. The guitar picking, the piano playing, the words filling the sanctuary. It’s the story. 1969 and the gospel message and a surrendered heart.

We are now the children of the great I AM,” he sings, “my wife and I.” And their journey past and the journey present and the glorious future all melt together.

A little while later another group takes the stage. Their words echo.

“I’m so glad that he loves me-

He bled and died on Calvary.

In my place he suffered where I should be

God has been so good to me.”

A whole string of sisters. Smiles that fill and bloom. Voices glorifying the King. Light shining bright.

The pastor steps up. I know him but he doesn’t know me. Every Sunday morning he’s there in my barn. In fact, he invited us to visit, just last week.

So we came to the  little church with deep blue carpet and oak benches and white lace valances in the windows. Where the people smile bright and their testimonies shimmer. And we’re blessed to meet them.

We’re indebted to them, you see. Their Sunday morning services broadcast through our county via our local radio station. And there is a boy, the one who calls me Ma and is part of God’s redemption in my life, who listens. And the only Bible teaching he ever receives is on those Sunday mornings. And my mother-heart sings is thankfulness when his questions leak out around my kitchen table when he stops to visit.

The pastor begins his talk this morning. His words of life’s frailty and uncertainty and how brief it really is. And then the drops of living water that splash through.

“This isn’t all there is. This isn’t it.”

“I never think people will die, but they do. And that’s why Jesus came.”

“God knows exactly what each of us have done and he offers salvation.”

“He came to save my miserable hell-bent soul.”

Beauty that make my heart tremble. Hope that burns brilliant.

“We’re here to help Christians grow in grace,” he says, “and to tell the old, old story of how Jesus died on a rugged cross to set us free.”

It’s the truth I know deep in my bones. It’s echoing again. And my soul dances.

We stay for a meal, down in the church basement, where the mashed potatoes pile high and there are too many kinds of pie to count. And we talk and laugh and I’m wrapped tight again in the grace that connects believers, one to another.

Do you take time to visit other churches, besides your own? It is rare that we are able to, with worship leading and Sunday School teaching, but whenever we get the chance we love to slip away to a new place that tells the same old, old story and meet the brothers and sisters we’ve never known.

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11 thoughts on “of 1969 and the old, old story

  1. It sounds like a small church. We went to a small church before, and I learned it doesn’t matter the size of the church. Good and bad are everywhere. I’m still trying to make our current church feel like home. 🙂

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  2. I have grown to LOVE meeting NEW brother’s and sister’s Natasha! God has had to do a restoration process in my personal life… to bring down and heal my pain, and bring me to this point. All glory to God… and I’m asking for more of Him, through His people and the world! Beautiful sharing sister, Amy

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  3. He will be 81 in August, they celebrate their 61st anniversary in September, he wrote the song he sang for her for their 50th anniversary, the alzhiemers had already began its work … he goes to the nursing home EVERY day and sits with her even though she has no clue who he is. He is, my grandfather! I love this post and I am thankful to have attended that church since it’s beginning!

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    • Such an incredible testimony! Thanks for stopping by and filling in the gaps! We enjoyed our visit immensely.

      Blessings upon blessings.

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      • I revisited your page because a friend of mine told me about it … and my sister reminded me that you were the one who wrote about Grandpa, and Anniversary Sunday. I just reread this post and I sit here in tears. I’m sure there was no way of you knowing this, but God did call my grandmother home, in September … just 11 days after their 61st anniversary. Not surprisingly, God’s peace has washed over my grandfather and he is still singing in church (and visits the nursing home). He’s looking forward to the day where they will be reunited with her.

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      • Oh, wow. Thank you, Ryan, for letting me know. So glad they were able to see 61 years and so thankful that your grandfather carries such an amazing testimony of God. His love, His peace.

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  4. We’ve visited many churches over the years – – locally and abroad, with friends and just us. God is working everywhere! Not just in our own comfy congregation. Not just in our own familiar denomination. Sweet brothers and sisters abound. Their convictions, their buildings, their services may look different, but we have made wonderful connections (many for life!) nonetheless. Ah… Precious memories come flooding to mind…

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  5. Thank you so much for your beautiful testimony about Calvary Bible Church on our anniversary Sunday. You have an incredible talent for finding the beauty in everything you see and hear. What a great article.

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