A few minutes ago I stepped out into the night. High in the southern sky was a half moon. The night was clear. Stars shown overhead. Outside it is cold tonight, within, warmth and people I love. Lois made a roast today. It was a good day.
Today I baptized Charles Perlos. Charles is the man who restored the place we call Bittersweet Farm and sold it to us. It was an amazing day, itself bittersweet. There was great joy in the church, but Chuck is not at all well. He may soon be with the Lord.
When we met Charles on October 1, 2017 he promised to sell us Bittersweet Farm. He was more than faithful to his word. We have become friends. The full story behind what I just wrote here is one of the sweetest stories in all my life full of stories. It’s a story I will tell another day, but your hearts are full and we will drift into sleep tonight with peaceful, grateful hearts.
Harmonica in My Pocket
Here is a little story about something that happened to me about 20 years ago in Fremont, Michigan:
I was sitting in my study working on a project a couple weeks ago when the secretary put a call through from the hospital chaplain. There was a family in need. I man had died. The family had recently relocated here from the south. They were requesting a Baptist preacher. I drove to the hospital and met the family. A widow of about twenty minutes was trying to say good-bye to her husband.
I prayed with her and talked with her about spiritual things for a while. She seemed comforted. I helped her along in the decisions she would have to make over the next few days.
Finally I said good-bye, left her with my card and drove home. I had a renewed love for life and a desire to see my family before returning to the study.
The next day a got a call from a pastor friend in a nearby village. He was doing the funeral and wondered if I knew anyone who could provide music. I asked the pastor to put the widow on the phone. She said her husband had loved music but they knew no one in the area. I said we would help. The songs she named were songs our family commonly sings together. She said they liked the guitar. I told her that we often sang with the guitar.
I asked what kind of music she wanted and she said her husband loved to play the harmonica, but she didn’t know anyone who could do that. She said it is a lost art and they would have to do without the harmonica.
The day of the funeral I took the older girls and we took a pleasant drive north to Hesperia. After we sang I surprised the family. I asked them to bow their heads and drew a harmonica from my pocket and played a simple version of Amazing Grace. There was weeping all across the room. The girls and I slipped quietly away and drove home satisfied that we were able to comfort a family in their grief and reinforce a cherished memory for them.
Last Wednesday I was called to the hospital again. This time in Muskegon. Another death. Mr. Henry Olman. We stood at Mr. Olman’s side and prayed. His granddaughter said; “I had to have one of his harmonicas. I have such sweet memories of him playing the harmonica.” His son-in-law looked at me and said; “He plays the harmonica.”
Mr. Olman was buried on a beautiful fall day. We were nearing the end of autumn, but it was a warm, glorious, sunny afternoon. When the family gathered I did my best to do honor the memory of the man, point his family to Christ and remind them of eternal things. At the close of the service I drew the harmonica from my pocket and quietly played Amazing Grace.
The weeping was a testimony to the fact that Mr. Olman was loved by his family.
Some people say God doesn’t care about little details. I will never believe that. I serve a God who sometimes arranges harmonica-playing preachers for grieving families
Bittersweet Farm | Summit Township, Michigan | Ken Pierpont | January 13, 2019