Posted January 31, 2021. My mother birthday.
My mother did not go to church. She did not take her children to church. My mother said "you live your heaven and hell right here on earth, its how you live your life daily that matters." She was a testimony to her statement and I love her dearly for what she taught me. She was always kind to others, always making sure she called the person she was talking to by their name and offered laughter and kind words to each person she came into contact with, always. I am ever grateful for what I am still learning from my mother. Her wisdom comes to me daily in all I do. thank you my mother.
My grandmother, my father's mother on the other hand, took her grandchildren to church. She took us to the United Methodist Church in Sunnyvale, California where we lived at the time. I was about nine years old. That day was the first time I heard my grandmother sing. My brother and sisters went directly to Sunday school class. Because of my age I went to the main service with the adults before going on to class. After my grandmother got them settled she came into the main service and sat about five seats down from me. That’s when we all stood to sing a hymn and I watched her very intently. She was strong standing with the others singing so beautifully in my eyes. I received my bible that day in Sunday school. I still have it of course, along with the memory of her strength. As a child I spent a great deal of time with her learning to cook, sew my own clothes, make quilt tops and blankets, as well as my own pajamas. The last time I was with my grandmother was when I stayed with her for about a month with my two little children who were nine months and three years old. She was just home from the hospital. Before we left she needed to make me a flannel nightgown. She passed away a few months later. I’m so blessed to have had that time with her. Going through her treasures and photo albums with her, learning so much of her life as she shared her stories and wisdom with me. I thank God for my grandmother and for all of her many gifts.
Referring to the song “Come Sunday” written by Duke Ellington, which is now in the hymn book of the United Methodist Church, the author of the article below states: “The song is ultimately about the providence of God in all our lives. The refrain addresses God directly, “Lord, dear Lord above, God Almighty, God of love,” and then makes a petition, “please look down and see my people through.” The stanzas point to hope and heaven, concluding that “With God’s blessing we can make it through eternity.”
Dr. Hawn is professor of sacred music at Perkins School of Theology.