Wednesday, June 29

"I Know That My Redeemer Lives"

Yesterday I sang at the funeral service for a man whom I had never met, but through the eulogies and tributes given by his children and close friends, I know he was a great man.  I was asked to sing an arrangement of an hymn entitled "I Know That My Redeemer Lives."  I've sung this song on previous occasions, but it's been many years.  Because I had not previously known the departed brother, I didn't expect to be overly emotional.  But as soon as my lovely accompanist started playing the music, I could feel the tears swelling in my eyes.  I half-sang/half-whispered the first line, surprised at my inability to compose myself.  We paused, and as soon as I was able to find my voice, I started again. The third verse concludes with a very powerful message, especially for a funeral: "He lives to grant my daily breath, He lives and I shall conquer death, He lives my mansion to prepare, He lives to bring me safely there."  Once again, I was surprised at how emotional I became.  Trying to sing while at the same time fighting back a torrent of tears is not easy.  I was only able to make it through the song by not looking at the family seated on the front row and trying my hardest to keep a big smile on my face.  Sounds odd, I know, but a big smile was the only thing that prevented my lips from quavering and my voice from breaking.  Somewhere in the middle of the song, I realized that the emotions I was feeling could only be partly explained by the fact that I was at a funeral.  The real reason that I was finding it so hard to sing a song that I've sung so many times in my life was the fact that I was essentially bearing my testimony through music.  It's a simple testimony, but a powerful one: I know that my Redeemer lives.

Now out of all the gifts and talents that heaven bestows upon us here in this life, I know that one of my gifts is the ability to sing.  I am not athletic or particularly physically strong, I am not creative in the homemade crafts department, I am a disaster in the kitchen... but I can sing.  I've always been able to sing and I'm grateful whenever I have the opportunity to share that talent with others.  What has struck me most over the years, though, is that when I have been asked to sing, for example, during a Sunday worship service, more often than not I am struggling in some way.  Maybe I haven't been reading my scriptures as consistently as I would like, maybe I've been letting my personal prayers become less personal, or maybe I'm just having a hard time with life in general.  Whatever it's been, those are usually the times that I'm asked to sing in church, and the song that I sing is exactly the message that I need to hear.  So my musical number becomes so much more than just a song.  It becomes a reminder to me from heaven that He knows who I am and He is always there to comfort me, help me and guide me.

I am grateful for tender mercies and I am grateful that I have been blessed with the ability to share my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ through music.

1 comment:

  1. And I am grateful to you and your willingness to be an instrument in His hands!

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