This is the Day

 

The Worship Team

The Worship Team

On this Sunday morning I awoke to  this song on my mind.  Rachel had joined us during the night. First, we went to the Marion Mennonite Church. We were greeted by a woman whose parents and grandparents I knew. I sat beside a man whose father I knew and whose daughter is giving a recital at Goshen College on a date written on My Joy’s bulletin.  Another father introduced his son as a graduate of Goshen College whose final project is organizing the papers of my father. The pastor’s sermon was part of a series on the hard sayings of Jesus. This one was based on the Gospel passage about eunuchs. The sermon was masterful, well researched and well delivered. Many connections were made as we mingled with the parishioners following the service.

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John’s granddaughters, Nora and Emma

From the church the immediate family went to Mrs. Gibbles Restaurant and Candies. They gave us much appreciated privacy. We were joined by respected family friend Mahlon Eshleman and his escort, cousin John Clark. We became better acquainted with each other and bonding continued through out the day. Kyle confirmed that he knew of appropriate rocks for the ashes and we agreed for him to lead us there.

john's pictureFrom the noon lunch we went to the cemetery where we found an unexpectedly large number of people waiting for us. Ruth had gone to the cemetery early and placed a table with a picture, a salesman’s traveling case containing the ashes, and flowers. She also had pictures to show us. (A church trustee supplied us with chairs.)

Awaiting us was Helen who has always been the oldest of the Lehman cousins. She was born a few months before John. Cousins came from Harrisonburg, Va. and from Lancaster, Pa.

Ruth greeting cousin Helen

Ruth greeting cousin Helen

Mahlan

From l to r: John’s picture, grave stone of J. Irvin and Ruth Lehman, his parents, Mahlon Eshleman, and gravestone of John’s grandparents, David B and Sarah Hege Lehman.

Nearby cousins from my mother’s side of the family came. Lehman Cousins who grew up in the big house on the hill above Blueberry Acres came. There were other cousins and close friends totaling twenty-eight according to Rachel’s memory.

Finally, we gathered for more formal sharing of memories. We sang “It is well with my Soul” and “Amazing Grace” from memory. Mahlon Eshleman led us in a brief meditation, a thankful prayer, and commitment of “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”  John’s older granddaughter quietly poured a cup of ashes near the grave stone of his parents.

We lingered long, conversing with the living who had gathered there and remembering those who had gone on before us. Evening seemed near as the immediate family left the cemetery for the rocks.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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2 Responses to This is the Day

  1. Sara Alice Zimmerly says:

    Good morning Martin. It’s God’s perfect peace within (the Holy Spirit) who puts such songs in our hearts, isn’t it. There are several that come to mind like that no matter what the day says is supposed to happen that worries me sometimes.

    Did you ever count the blessings of God? When I was a teenager I decided to do that, like the song. I got a notebook and kept it on the kitchen table. My family didn’t write in it, but it sure brought forth lots of conversation.

    There were conversations about where evil comes from, and what good are mosquitoes. And new appreciations surfaced like “is the girl who sits next to me in class and bothers me an enemy or someone to love for Christ’s sake, and how do I do that,” and is she a blessing? Is poverty/riches a blessing? Ignorance is bliss” the saying goes. True or false?

    My uncle Hiram said he had sung that song many times but never saw anyone really count and think is such a way before and he liked it, I decided to stop counting when I decided I’d gotten the point that God and the hymn writer were making. I’m glad for the habit He gave me of watching for Him and being glad.

    Once I was criticized for quoting the saying that God’s in His heaven and all’s right with the world”. My critic said you can’t show that God’s in heaven, all is NOT right with the world, and I am nievely believing pie in the sky. It hurt my feelings.

    As I have reflected over the years, I still think I can safely quote the saying. God IS in his heaven and it has come to be a Kingdom in the hearts of those who believe and follow Him here on earth. He is ultimately in charge, whether satan and the world acknowledge it or not. We read the end of the Book and we know Who wins, after all. So, I chose to trust in my God and worship on many occasions like sunrises, flowers, when I watch Wilson’s storm-petrals fishing, and when a child smiles etc.

    Keep singing inside, Martin and friends, and so will I.

  2. Sam Troyer says:

    It sounds like you had a very meaningful service and trip.

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