We sang the old gospel song, "Soon and Very Soon/We are Going to See the King" on Sunday. And I couldn't help it, while we were singing I could see them sitting near the front of the church. They have both been gone for a few years now, but they always sat in about the same place near the front of the church, pulpit side.
Whenever we sang this particular song, I always saw them sitting and holding one another, and tears would be streaming down their faces.
This song, I learned, had been sung at their daughter's funeral. Their daughter, their only child, had died of ALS, too young. They had two beloved grandchildren, and now three great-grandchildren, but whenever they heard this song, it reminded them of their daughter, and they cried.
So when we sang the song on Sunday, I couldn't help but see them still, even, sitting and crying, even though they are both gone now. They cried even though the song said "No more cryin' there...." even though the song said, "no more dying there".. And I suppose they cried from a combination of grieving and hope. They cried because in this world children should not die before their parents, and no one should go hungry, and young men should not have to go to war, and old people should not be left alone, with no one to care for them. And they cried for the vision that God promises us: a world where there will be no more crying and no more pain and no more death, a world where there will be enough water and enough light and enough love and enough life, where the leaves of the trees will be for the healing of the nations. They cried because they remembered the past and they yearned for the future.
Soon and Very Soon
We are Going to see the King.
What is it about singing? As soon as I hear the song, my mind conjures up the memories; I see them so clearly. It's as if that couple is still with us, singing and crying and worshiping. Singing does that; it conjures something up, and helps us go on living and working and yearning for the future God promises, but that we can't quite grasp.
Sometimes, all we can do is wait.
And sing about it.
And that is enough.