June 17, 2018

It was a different day for us indeed …

Last Sunday was probably the most emotional Sunday we have had here at bethel since I came over twelve years ago.  We had two deaths in the church family in one week.  One was a senior citizen with terminal liver cancer, Mrs. Katy Kahn.  We had expected her home going but not this quickly.  She was a much loved & respected church member & is missed already greatly.  The other death was a sixteen year old whose body was found by a search & rescue team after a couple of days searching.  The young lady had professed Christ this last February & had been very faithful in church services since then.  So it was heart-wrenching for all of us.  Her body was discovered on Saturday.  So Sunday was very emotional for all of us losing two women in one week.

When the choir sang, “Abba Father,” the choir had a lot of moisture flowing.  The words were so applicable, touching, & personal.  Then afterwards Pastor Seth wept openly since she was one of his young people from the youth group.  It touched the whole congregation deeply in the loss of Rachel.  But it was the perfect choir song for that day.  It ministered perfectly to our loss & our hurts.  The tender message to our already tender hearts was impactful indeed!

The offertory was a trumpet solo that followed exactly in the same line: “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.”  Mrs. Autumn Clark played the rich melody as the screen flashed the words that bolstered our hurting hearts.  It was amazing how that every facet of the service was just what we needed.  Because it was Father’s Day, I interviewed our summer interns asking them questions about their own fathers.  That touching time also was blessed & instrumental for the day which added a whole different emotional touch to things.  None of this was orchestrated for effect.  The service was planned a long time ago before anyone had any idea of the events of the week.  But our Omniscient Father knew a long time ago & prepared the service exactly as it should have been.  I then preached a Father’s Day message entitled, “The Father Who Cared” which was about Job who lost everything that he owned basically & then lost all of his children in a tornado.  It resonated specifically to our feelings & hearts.  Even our congregational song before the message was perfect, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”

In the evening service we began Vacation Bible School.  It had been heavily advertised. So we had no choice but to go ahead in spite of our hurts.  For the first time in over 45 years of ministry, I was not leading VBS.  I had told the church last year that I was turning it over to our capable assistant, Pastor Seth to run VBS from now on.  And he began Sunday night in the aftermath of all of this.  I felt badly for him, but he did splendidly!  He had made some changes in VBS, the decorations were excellent in the auditorium & classrooms, & his style is quite different from mine, but it was wonderful.  I must confess that it was more than a little sad for me to be sitting during one of my favorite times of the year, but it was exactly right for everyone concerned.  Last night (Tuesday), we had an expectant mother trust Christ as Savior & a ten year old lad.  PTL for these salvation decisions already & we expect more tonight & tomorrow also!  

So there you have it from last Sunday morning & evening.  We are in the throes of VBS this week.  BTW, the memorial service for Katy Kahn is Saturday July 21st at 11 AM.  A memorial service for Rachel will be announced later.  The family who are not church members here, need time to deal with the shock & loss of their precious child.  Losing a child is the hardest thing for a family especially this kind of loss.  But we will announce when that memorial service is well in advance when the family adequately is ready.  Thank you to many people who prayed for us through this hard week.  God’s grace is always sufficient, but your faithful prayers lifted us & anointed us to go on even in the difficulty.  PTL, He never fails!