Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rememberings Authored by Abba

Sunday, July 17th, 2011 marked the 4th anniversary since Jonathan, fondly known as Johnny, died. The “momentous” day was marked by a curious blend of “7s” as we increasingly became aware:  He died in the 7th month, the 17th day, the year 2007, 7 years following the death of our Mom and most in-our-face was plucking 7 large koi belly up from the pond that very morning.  Never before, nor since, did any fish die in the pond. 

I felt like Moses, noticing a bush that burned but wasn’t consumed, as I collected one 7 after another over the days and months.  I considered the work of Yahweh.  And on the seventh day God ended His work from which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work.  I dwelt in the mutual recognition moments of Moses’ noticing the unconsumed yet burning bush: the Lord seeing Moses turned aside to see, then God called to him out of the midst of the bush and said, Moses, Moses!  And he said, Here am I.” 

This particular anniversary in 2011 I was so aware Jonathan’s home-going—yet unable to click with some thought of “how can I memorably mark how important Jonathan is to me and this well-marked day when he died.”  Sadly, the day ended sans the honoring I wanted to give it.

Ever hear of Jonathan Veira?  Neither did I.  He’s a professional opera singer of 26 years, loves Jesus, who brings “laughter and joy to the party.”  Knowing nothing of this person, except he made people laugh, we bought tickets for the afternoon concert in the Keswick Conference last Thursday.  This capable 50 year old musician took us on a delightful musical journey down a memory lane of old songs, advertisements, creating joy and fun as we listened and sang together. 

In the last half of his final song, he purposefully walked off the stage, took the shoulder and hand of a downs syndrome young man and directed him back up onto the platform to join him at the microphone.  They resumed the song…together… You raise me up so I can stand on mountains. You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas.  I am strong when I am on your shoulders.  You raise me up to more than I can be --  two voices, one of broken articulation and the other clear and well trained, joyfully joined in praise to Him!  In those moments I saw “Jonathan-Johnny” singing God’s holy song together—one not greater nor lesser than the other.  This “dis”-abled young man’s face raised heavenward with joy and tears, his arm stretched out and upward, singing with his “whole” body “You raise me up…”  We were no longer an audience; we were worshipping before the King of Kings, the great I AM EVERYTHING THAT I MUST BE!  And “the temple” was filled with His Glory!
Only later did I become “conscious” that this singer’s name was “Jonathan.”  For a few moments “Jonathan was whole,” for a few minutes I was the downs syndrome young man being gathered into the arms of my big brother, for a few minutes, I was given an ornament that transformed ashes to beauty, and given a flask of oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise for my heavy, burdened spirit.  For a few minutes, the body of Christ (Jonathan Viero) was helping me care for my Jonathan (Edward Midura) and letting me look on with tears of praise and pride that we, God’s holy people, do “get it right,” giving God glory and honor and making Him extremely proud of His kids!  I didn’t need to search for a way to honor Jonathan’s life and the specialness-to-my-heart of our brother-sis relationship.  The kingdom of heaven came to me-- there!  God presented a gift that could have only been scripted by His Finger.  And, once again, “God saw that it was good (fitting, pleasant) and He approved of it.  And, during this Sabbath year, we rest in His Goodness, Delight, and Faithfulness--never-forgetting-one-detail-of-His Will to be accomplished.  How right and good to turn toward the “Presence of God,” to notice Him in the ordinary, and find Him noticing our noticing and then we hear His Voice!

As I am finishing this writing, I’m observing a mum and dad each arm in arm assisting their own teen-age blind, autistic young man back to their car.  Abba, You hand-pick your servants! Fill their hearts and arms to fulfill your work and delight! 
Bethyl Joy