Singing “Hallelujah”

Remembering Mom 

In four months, my mother would have turned 96.  That’s why I remembered Lucinda Matlock when she died on December 29.  Lucinda is one of the characters who come back from the grave in Edgar Lee Masters’ play, “Spoon  River Anthology.” She says:

At ninety-six I had lived enough, that is all,
And passed to a sweet repose.
What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness,  
Anger, discontent and drooping hopes?
Degenerate sons and daughters,
Life is too strong for you—
It takes life to love Life.

img_0002Mom left us the way a polite woman leaves a party. With help from Hospice she left us quietly, without making a fuss and at peace. She died the way she lived, “in sure and certain hope of the resurrection and eternal life.”  

Singing “Hallelujah” 

One of my favorite memories of Mom comes from Easter, 2012.  Here’s the way I told the story in  “A Disciple’s Heart”.  

Halfway back in the congregation, my nine-year-old granddaughter tugged on my wife’s arm and said, “Gamma, look at Gampa’s face!” Then she made a shocked expression to mirror what she saw on my own.

We were singing the final hymn in the traditional Easter service, during which anyone who wants to sing the “Hallelujah” chorus is invited to come to the chancel, pick up a score and join the choir. The look on my face was an involuntary response when I saw my 91-year-old mother step out of the pew and start down the aisle leaning on her cane every step of the way. It reflected my concern about how she would make it up the steps into the chancel. We’re careful about getting her up just the one step into our front door. Fortunately, my son-in-law got his arm around her and supported her all the way. 

I grew up hearing my mother singing hymns at bedtime and in the kitchen, singing solos for weddings and funerals, and singing in the choir every Sunday morning. It’s no surprise to me that she loves Handel’s setting of the book of Revelation’s hymn of praise to the risen Christ. The choir sang it every Easter when we were growing up. She probably knows it by heart. She asked the organist to play it as we processed out of the Sanctuary at my father’s funeral.  

She doesn’t sing as much as she used to. Time and asthma inhalers have taken a toll on her voice. But this was Easter Sunday morning, and she wanted to get in on the singing. After the service she said she hoped I wasn’t embarrassed. I told her I wasn’t embarrassed, just concerned. She said, “Well, I don’t know if I’ll get to sing it again, so I wanted to do it today.”  

She will, of course, sing it again someday, in fuller voice and renewed strength when she joins the heavenly choirs. That is, after all, the promise of Easter. But Mom got it right. You shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to sing “Hallelujah” when you can, particularly when your great-grandchildren are watching. I felt like saying, “Go for it, Mom!”

Go for it, Mom!

And so the time as come.  We dare to believe that she is singing with the choirs that sing praise to God in Revelation.  We give thanks she sang when she could, and we’d like to join the singing. 

Grace and peace, 

Jim 

 

 

 

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21 thoughts on “Singing “Hallelujah”

  1. Dear Jim,

    What a beautiful remembrance of your mother! i’m sure she will be thrilled to sing God’s praises, full-throated again, with the heavenly choirs!

    Grace and peace,

    Tom >

    • Christian Mothers have the best witness of any of us and will be rewarded in heaven for all they have done for His kingdom.

  2. Thank you, Jim for sharing. We have wonderful models for living full heaven bound lives, don’t we? As daddy would say, you mom was a Hallelujah Christian!

    Shalom

    Cherith

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  3. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your mother is indeed singing in the heavenly choir now. Lovingly, Carolyn

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  4. Amen, Jim. What a wonderful memory and tribute to Ronnie. I am sad to know that she has left this world but grateful that we have had her for this long. My sympathy to all of you and to me.

  5. Beautiful… a life lived by example and belief. You’ve written about your Mother so eloquently and heart full. Thank you for sharing this with us…. A tender read to start a New Day and New Year. May you and your family be shielded from the sorrow as so many lift you and yours up to God in prayer…. With the love you’ve imparted all these years, Joanne and Dwight Dorr

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  6. Reverend Jim,

    This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing such lovely sentiments about your mother. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!

    Warm regards,
    Lynn

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  7. Jim, one thing we all forgot yesterday was the West Virginia connection. I know Mom’s family had connections to Parkersburg, I think.

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  8. Jim, thanks so much for sharing the loving tribute to your mother. Peace and grace to you and your family. Love, Judie and John

  9. What a beautiful tribute to your wonderful mom, Jim. Peace to you as you cherish priceless memories.
    Mary Webb & Howard

  10. A lovely tribute, Jim. Cheryl and I had the pleasure of getting to know your Mom a little when visiting my Dad in Canterbury about a year-and-a-half ago. I bet he’s singing with the heavenly choirs himself now. Thank you, John

  11. Beautiful memory of a strong, faithful Christian/woman/mom/grandmother/sister-in-law/grandmother-in-laws/aunt/wife/mother-in-law/sister/friend, etc. etc. Your mom made us all feel special and important. Serious about her faith, but always that sly humor underneath! Her laugh is imprinted on my memory. Much love to you all. How we will miss her.

  12. Ah, Jim, what a powerful
    affirmation of a strong Momma. I was reading to Ty. In our churches we have done the same thing by providing the opportunity to sing “Hallelujah” to the risen Lord. Once you learn the musical texts, stays in your heart forever. Such sweet memories.

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