Writer David Hersey
Writer David Hersey

GRANBY, Mo. (BNc) by David Hersey — At the 2013 Annual Preachers Files Lectureship hosted by the Rogers Springs church in Middleton, Tenn., an event happened during an afternoon break between lessons which had a profound impact on me.

A handful of us had stayed at the building during the break, and we were enjoying some one-on-one fellowship with a few of the members who were in and out. About an hour or so before the next scheduled lesson, someone picked up a songbook from a pew and started singing the first hymn in the book. Those of us who were present in the auditorium picked up a book and joined in.

When we had finished singing the hymn, someone in the small group started singing the second hymn in the book.  People from the back rooms heard the singing and came in, picked up a hymnal, and started singing with us.

We worked our way through the hymnal in the order they were printed as best we could. Someone within the group knew almost every song as we came to it.

sacred-selectionsAs the time drew closer for the next lesson, more people started showing up and without a word, they just came in, sat down, picked up a songbook, and joined with us in song.

Each song we sang together was a mini-sermon with a message of hope and love all its own.

I remembered songs from my youth that I hadn’t heard in 40 years. It was a like a walk back through my life all the way to my childhood as we sang songs that I sang with my friends, parents and grandparents while growing up.

Someone would start the next hymn, and even though I may not have known it at first, after just a few bars were sung, I would remember the song and with that came all the memories associated with it. I was singing those old songs with long-departed friends and family and with new family just discovered. For just a little while, through the memories those old hymns stirred up, I got to sing with my departed family one more time.

Rogers Springs church of Christ building
Rogers Springs building

By the time for the next lesson, everyone who was going to attend had arrived, and we were singing hymns numbered in the 70s. We sang right up to the minute that the next lecture was scheduled to begin. Our host speaker had to stop us or I believe we would have sung all night.

This was a completely unrehearsed event which just unfolded out of the hearts of Christians who were cheerful and just wanted to praise God from the heart. For me, it was the most profound moment of 2013 and the highlight of the entire lectureship.

I often wonder what it will be like in heaven. While sitting there in that little group of Christians, I imagined us standing before the throne of God. I remember thinking at the time that our group of singers was much larger than anybody there could see, and that we were as close to heaven as any of us would ever be this side of eternity.

David is an explosives expert and belongs to the congregation in Granby, Mo. His username on the Preachers Files Forum is powderman. Read other 2013 Reflections on BNc.

Do you have a reflection as you look back on 2013, based on some event or special moment? Send it with a photo of yourself and your location and congregation to BNc at randal@brotherhoodnews.com.

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

6 thoughts on “2013 reflections: ‘As close to heaven as any of us would ever be this side of eternity’

  1. The songbook of my youth and oh how we loved to sing praises to God after services, many times learning new songs so we could sing them at the next meeting of the saints. As teens we took these songbooks with us to our devotions and even to our cookouts at each other’s homes so we could sing… had one elder who picked me up to go to gospel meetings, youth rallies etc, and on the way we had these books, singing songs as we traveled miles from home. What glorious memories this story brings to mind as I remember all the great times with my brothers and sisters at Williams Rd in Cols OH as we gathered to sing, giving thanks to God. Thank you Brother David for sharing this story and reviving so many wonderful memories for me.

    1. Racine, just so happens The Missus and I were there, and it was all that David said it was. Obviously, like any event or moment, it meant different things to different people. It was, however, an inspiring moment together.

Reaction?