Singing with the Angels
My mother died during the Easter season.
A couple of weeks ago marked the 19th anniversary of her death. Another 1 and 9 to go with the date—March 19, 1991. (I was glad when that year was over so I wouldn’t have to keep seeing all those nines and ones.)
At the time of her death, I wondered if it would forever cast a shadow over Easter for me. I’ve found instead that it has only made Easter more precious. Mother had been practicing Easter music with the small choir (eight people) at her little church in northern Arkansas. At her funeral the group sang one of the songs she had been practicing with them. Melancholy, yes, but only from an earthly perspective. I couldn’t be sad for her. She sang with the angels that year—and every Easter since.
The only place on earth I have attended a true sunrise service was the mission center where we worked in South America. We gathered every year at six in the morning on the highest hill at the center, overlooking a long lake. With our blankets spread on the ground, we sang Easter songs and listened a brief devotional message.
One year an amazing thing happened. A breeze ruffled a narrow horizontal strip across the far end of the lake. We didn’t notice it particularly until the sun slipped up above the horizon at that far end. The next moment, a golden glow spread vertically down the length of the lake toward us—and the ruffled cross strip turned gold as well.
Can you see it—the golden cross on the lake … on Easter morning?
Easter morning in 1981was memorable in a different way. In January subversives had taken one member of our group captive and a few weeks later executed him. Our center was still under guard by the country’s military, and we were told it would not be safe for us to meet on the hill. Instead, we gathered at a central location, with homes and trees around us and only a small piece of the lake visible. Soldiers and a couple of machine guns were in clear sight. That year we sang with extra gusto, “Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes!”
A footnote to my mother’s death during the Easter season is that she died on her grandmother’s birthday. This was the grandmother for whom she was named and whose name my mother later gave to me. Esther Sophronia Porter (later Stauffer) was born March 19, 1868, and died six years before I was born. I like to think of her welcoming Mother that Easter season in 1991—and then the two of them singing together with the angels.
What memorable Easters have you experienced?