This is a secret just between you and me. You may share it with only a few hundred of your closest friends whom you trust. One of the goals on my “Bucket List” is to be the main “speaker” during a Sunday morning worship service at my church. I use the word “speaker” and not “preacher” for the obvious reason: I’m not ordained. Some may be thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding! How can a woman with cerebral palsy and slurred speech ever be the main “speaker” anywhere, let alone in a Sunday morning worship service? Dream on! Who would ever allow it?” Well, to answer the skeptics among us, God has a history of using people who have speech difficulties to speak on His behalf. Just look at Moses who said, “I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue” [Exodus 4:10 – JKB], and Isaiah who said, “I am a man of unclean lips” [Isaiah 6:5 – ESV]. God was able to use their weakness to demonstrate His power and glory.
Also, it takes a church that is open to what God wants to do through them. It takes a church that is inspired by God’s creativity and trusts in the Holy Spirit to step out in faith and try new ways of doing things for the glory of God. It was such and honor, as well as a humbling experience, for me when my family in Christ allowed me to tell “my story,” a testimony of God’s grace in my life twice at my church. The first time I “spoke” it was a thirteen-and-a-half minute testimony given before the sermon. The second time I spoke it was a twenty-five-and-a-half minute “talk” during the time allotted for the sermon. It was so amazing for my church family to be willing to have me “speak” in a very creative way. My sister in the Lord, Betsy Wassmann, who is also on the Worship Development Team at College Church, helped me to condense eleven pages of my story into six pages. [You have been reading the long version from my blog posts during the last several weeks.] Betsy was also going to be my “Voice.” She was going to read my story while I did a bit of a pantomime, using a few visual aids. I needed to be doing something besides just sitting in front of the congregation.
[Notice, I do have a head covering.]
On Sunday May 3, 2015 I told my story of how God brought me out of a deep nine-month depression and back into His Light where I am experiencing the Joy of His Salvation again. This is how the morning went:
I arrived at church early to see where I was going to be sitting up front and where to put my “props” and to pray with the worship team. As I walked into the sanctuary, I saw Christina, with her baby Alisabeth, and Connie going over the special music I wanted to be played at the end of my story. Dr. Don, our Minister of Missions joined them with his violin [You will see him later].
My friend Paul, one of our Elders, who also is Director of Religious Life at Amherst College, introduced Betsy and me. He may not look like the portrait of the Apostle Paul, but his heart is very much like the Apostle.
Betsy did an excellent job at reading my story. It sounded exactly how I would sound if I were reading it. She read my story while I used my visual aids. Doing something helped me to keep my composure during the length of time I was given. I thought I would never be asked to make my writing longer but, since I had the whole “speaking” time, Paul told me to make my presentation five minutes longer and that the Scripture reading for the morning was Lamentations chapter three. I had no trouble making my “talk” longer and Lamentations 3 fit perfectly with what I was sharing, with Betsy’s help.
When we were finished Christina and the musicians offered a song that has special meaning to me. It’s called, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand,” originally written in 1921 by Myra Brooks Welch. The reason why it holds a special place in my heart is that Myra had severe arthritis and typed out her poem using a typewriter and the eraser ends of pencils, one in each hand. It took her thirty minutes to type out her poem. I type on my computer with my left index finger. Myra’s message is clear: Every life is precious to God and He is the One who makes life worth living.
The Touch of the Master’s Hand
By Myra Brooks Welch (1921)
T’was battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin,
but held it up with a smile; “What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me? A dollar, a dollar; then two! Only
Two? Two dollars, and who’ll make it three? Three dollars, once; three
dollars twice; going for three…”
But no, from the room, far back, a
gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow. Then, wiping the dust
from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody
pure and sweet as a caroling angel sings
The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “What am I bid for the old violin?” and he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two? Two thousand! And who’ll make
it three? Three thousand, once; three thousand twice; and going and
gone,” said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, “We do not
quite understand what changed its worth.” Swift came the reply: “The touch
of the Master’s Hand.”
And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin,
is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the of violin…
He is “going” once, and “going” twice. He’s going and almost “gone.”
But the Master comes, and ghoulish crowd never can quite understand
the worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought by
the touch of the Master’s Hand.
The Church is the body of Christ on earth. We are His hands, His feet, His voice and His song. Let us love one another with the compassion and mercy of Jesus. Let us love the hurting and bring healing to the world.
“It’s in the body of Christ that I have found my eternal home. I may not fit a particular mold of Christian perfectly, but that is the beauty of the Kingdom of God – none of us quite fits in. It is only by the grace of God that we are able to come to God as one body, across all dividing lines, to live as servants and witnesses of Christ.” – From “A TRANSFORMING VISION: Multiethnic Fellowship in College and in the Church” – Edited by Paul V. Sorrentino [This book is also useful in teaching how we ought to value people who come from all kinds of diversity, able-bodied and disabled included. I highly recommend the book.]
Another goal on my “Bucket List” is to get on YouTube. With a lot of help from my friends Melonie and Pam, both Testimonies I and II are on YouTube. If you would like to see them, go to YouTube and type in SEARCH: Lydia’s Testimony 2015 and Lydia’s Testimony – Part II.
Hallelujah! Amen! THE END [I’m taking some time off from blogging – a mental health vacation you might say.]
May the Touch of the Master’s Hand be real to you all!
Please pray for Dr. Don. He broke his hip and is currently at Spalding Rehab, in Boston.