Call us old fashioned but so many of us in the Sandwich Generation love the beautiful old church hymns as much as we love the contemporary praise and worship hymn songs and music. That's true even for many of us in the baby boomer generation who grew up on the Beatles, Donavan, and the Monkees. The old hymns are such a delightful and restful way for us to worship God as well as "taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5)
Some of them, like How Firm a Foundation, include encouraging Bible verses to fill our hearts, like, "Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed, For I am thy God" from the song lyrics is almost word for word from one of my favorite encouraging Bible verses, Isaiah 41:10 (Darby), "Fear not, for I [am] with thee; be not dismayed, for I [am] thy God"
And some, like Rock of Ages Cleft For Me, are an extra special encouragement and comfort for those who are caring for elderly parents in their family who are reaching the end of their walk here on earth and can appreciate the sweet balm of the music as they are dealing with grief while handling the many questions from the hospital or hospice team. Don't you love these lyrics, "While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyes shall close in death, when I soar to worlds unknown, see Thee on thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee."
As Paul told us in 2 Corinthians 5:8:
"we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord"
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Philippians 1:21 (KJV)
It's such a joy to also share these lovely hymn songs with our grandchildren. As we cultivate a love of the old blended with the delight of the new, we are sharing with them a rich history and heritage that will mean these favorite hymns will continue on – full of your own sweet family memories of times spent together.
Here's a gorgeous rendition of the hymn, Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me, along with one other song, focused on exactly that (the last verse), performed by Vestal Goodman, from A Tribute to Howard and Vestal Goodman – With Bill and Gloria Gaithers and Their Homecoming Friends. Vestal Goodman went home to be with the Lord in 2003. I first heard of Vestal Goodman and her ministries and songs just a few months ago and was so blessed, and have been again today. Talk about a wonderful and powerful legacy to leave! That's our goal for our Sandwich Generation families, isn't it? We may not have a video out or sing on TV. But our best audience, our senior parents, our children, our grandchildren we take care of – they are watching us. We are leaving that legacy one way or another. Lord willing, we are leaving a powerful testimony of God's power and love in our lives and in our love and nurture of them.
Wasn't that powerful! I was so blessed by it and hope you were as well. You should see the huge smile on my face, intermixed with tears streaming down it! Truly one of my favorite old church hymns and sung so wonderfully by a woman of God who is now living what she was then singing about.
For more Christian encouragement including devotions for all ages (perfect for the Sandwich Generation family – from senior citizens on down to the cute grandkids) full of uplifting and inspirational Bible verses and praise and worship music, be sure to visit Spiritual Sunday.
P.S. After I wrote the above, including the focus on just the last verse of Rock of Ages, I tried to make a Smilebox of all three songs, but wasn't able to. I apparently changed my password and can't fix it til Monday. BUT GOD knew that would happen and used it to eventually lead me to the above video of Vestal Goodman – which ALSO focuses on the last verse of Rock of Ages! I had been praying extra for this particular article, and when I saw that, I KNEW that God had me do this for one or more of you reading this – to comfort and encourage you in a special way. A love letter just for you and your loved ones – and yes, I am sitting here typing with tears coming down my face – again! It's apparently one of those days of being touched in a special way by the hand of God. I'll never know who this was for, but I pray that YOU will, and that you will be blessed in a very special way!