Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sister Thompson

My friend, Jeff, e-mailed me this morning to let me know that Sister Thompson had passed away. His words made me cry and smile at the same time....Well, here, I'll let you read them for yourselves:

"I just got word that Sister Thompson has passed away. My first inclination was to be sad, but then I decided that, instead, I would rejoice. I know where that lady is! She was the epitome of a Lady of God! I just bet that heaven has heard her sing already."

Sister Thompson was the wife of the first pastor I remember at the Kimberly Church of God. She was beautiful. When I was a little girl, I didn't know what to call the kind of beauty she had. These days, I would say she was elegant and grace-filled. She just had a certain something about her that made little girls want to grow up to be like her, and "big girls" want to be around her. In the words of Jeff, she was indeed a "Lady of God".

Every once in awhile, she would sing a solo. My favorite for her to sing was "The Love of God."

Now, I realize there are those of you who read these little words of mine who've never heard anyone speak in tongues, some of you don't even believe they exist any longer, and some of you have simply been scared to death by a past experience.

But, whichever above category you fit into, I simply wish you could have heard Sister Thompson sing in tongues. It most often happened when she was singing "The Love of God"--maybe that's why it was my favorite for her to sing.

I remember sitting on that pew thinking, "So this is what 'the tongues of men and of angels' sounds like." When it happened, it was stunning and made you want to know this "love of God" she sang about.

I probably wouldn't have felt this way if her life had not mirrored her song. But it did. Consistently. Graciously. Lovingly. Someone once said about Brother and Sister Thompson, "If they can't get you to Jesus any other way, they'll just love you to Him."

When I first heard that famous quote by St. Francis of Assisi--"Preach the Gospel at all times and, when necessary, use words."--Brother and Sister Thompson were some of the first people I thought of. Their lives preached--their sermons and songs simply matched.

I can't wait to hear her sing again!

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

(FYI, a footnote in the Hymnal reads: "The words of the last verse of this song were found penciled on the wall of a narrow room of an asylum by a man said to have been demented. The profound lines were discovered after his death.")

I love the LORD, because he heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.…
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
our God is merciful….
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling;
I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living….
What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD….
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
O LORD, I am your servant;…
You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the LORD.
(from Psalm 116, ESV)

No comments:

Post a Comment