The songs we sing here at this small mission hospital are mostly hymns—written many, many years ago, now sung here on the banks of the Zambezi river in the beautiful Lunda or Luvale languages. As we sing these songs, it brings me back to my childhood. Because, in an old feed store turned into a church, surrounded by 90 people who loved God with a passion, these same hymns became the songs of my childhood.
The words of these same hymns were the first words I learned to use to express my thanksgiving and praise and worship to my Heavenly Father. I still can see Brother Dearmon leading these songs with his hand going up and down to the rhythm, his wife Ruthie often accompanying on the piano. And I can still hear Brother Curtis Bell singing with such zeal and conviction. And I remember so vividly and so often being in the car with my dad and when there was a lull in the conversation, he didn’t turn on the radio, he simply began to hum the melody or sing the words to these very same songs. It was if these words were intricately woven into the fabric of who I am. And they will always be there. And they will always have a special memory and meaning and significance to me.
So this morning, as I heard the melody of a song now sang in a much different language, instantly and without any effort whatsoever, the words came up out of my memory…no…more out of the deep and hidden fabric of my soul…
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory every,
‘Till my ransomed soul shall find,
Rest beyond the river.