Sunday, July 21, 2013

My former favorite hymn

O for a Thousand Tongues
Text: Charles Wesley Music Carl G. Lazer

1.  O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer's praise
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace.

5.  My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread thro' all the earth abroad,
the honors of Thy name.

This hymn once belonged among my favorites.

That was until my cousin who was more of a brother to me developed oral cancer and underwent surgery.

This dear man and I were born three weeks apart and lived in the same house for the first six years of our lives. After his loss, no longer able to speak, he wrote notes to convey messages.  Sometimes he phoned and pressed buttons. He communicated in the only way possible for him in real time—I wish he had learned email. I never knew what he tried to say when he called, but the obvious message through these tonal sounds conveyed his love for me.

His wife came home one day to find a bucket of fried chicken on the kitchen table.  “Where did this come from?”  He responded to her question with a scribble on a notepad. "I bought it. I wanted to smell it." Liquid poured into a feeding tube doesn’t produce the desired results of an actual meal.

He died with grace and dignity.  I know he now speaks in heaven and praises our King. He also enjoys his preferred nourishment up there.

Several years later, my blood brother sibling died with the identical scenario. In chapter twenty-one of my book, Sarah: Laney’s Angel, you will read where two men sit in heaven devouring favorite foods.  One loves brisket and fried chicken. The other man invites the angel lieutenant to sample the pork chops and banana pudding. When I wrote that chapter, I pictured my two brothers healthy and whole as they sat together eating and enjoying what they couldn’t down here. The chapter uplifts the spirit because heaven conquers disease, despair, and it is a wondrous place. Our loved ones wait expectantly for us there.

Most of us are on this planet are fortunate. We can eat, talk, and sing.  We can use our mouthpiece to speak positive admonitions or negative, cruel ones.  We make that choice every day.

When I hear or must sing the hymn O For a Thousand Tongues, I'm reminded of how little we use our language skills to convey love and praises to our God and to each other.  Charles Wesley wanted a thousand tongues to do just that.

With gratitude, let’s use our vocal structures to praise our great Redeemer in the here and now. Let us use our language apparatuses to speak kindness to one another.


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