Mark Photos – 9:30-32 – Tom

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Blessings, Death, Faith, Grief, Jesus, Mark Photos, Resurrection

Mark 9:30-32 – Jesus Again Foretells His Death and Resurrection

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

——

About 6 years ago in early September, I officiated at the memorial service of a man of deep faith. At the service, we played recordings of two hymns that were recorded by his sons and his grandson. One of the hymns was “How Can I Keep from Singing” whose words are the following:

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation,
I hear the sweet, tho’ far-off hymn
That hails a new creation;
Above the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing;
It sounds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?

What though the tempest round me roar
I hear the truth it liveth
What tho’ the darkness around me close?
Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I’m clinging;
Since love is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear,
And hear their death-knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near,
How can I keep from singing?
In prison cell and dungeon vile,
Our thoughts to them are ringing;
When friends by shame are undefiled,
How can I keep from singing?

This and another were majestic pieces sung that reflected the truth that Jesus spoke of in this passage – yes, Jesus died, but 3 days later he came to life anew in the resurrection. This promise is what we proclaimed that day in the memorial service – the hope that we held to.

It is that same hope that we hold to today as we say goodbye to one of the sons who sang that beautiful rendition of the hymn. Tom was one of the most faithful men that I have known and, even as he fought cancer the last 11 years, he did so with faith, trust, prayer, hope, and inspiration. It is the same faith that we have witnessed through his family as they have journeyed with him and were there as he began a new journey in eternity.

The words of this hymn speak to Tom’s experience even now as it does ours. Tom’s life flows on in endless song above the lamentation that we lift. We continue to hear the sweet song that he lifted before us in his life and he hears the song of heaven surrounding him. That song hails a new creation, a new body, a wholeness, that Tom has received. Through all of this, how can we keep from singing – singing both the lament of grief and loss, but also the song of hope and promise in the resurrection.

This picture today is one that I took at sunrise in South Carolina a few months ago. I love the way that the warm and golden light surrounds and colors all and there are the figures ahead that are clearly people but indistinct, almost like people who are waiting for us to join them. I wonder if the first experience of eternity is something like this – the warm and comforting light that surrounds us all and the figures of those who have gone before us await.

Tom, thank you for your faithful living. Thank you for the faith that held you strong through this fight. Thank God for the family that surrounded you and held you fast. Thank God that your battle is won and your body is redeemed and you have heard those words that are so true…well done, good and faithful servant. How can I keep from singing? Amen.

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