|"Behold He comes. . ."|
One such moment happened back in early May when Barbara and Ezra went down to Dayton for her Uncle Jim's funeral. We didn't want Elijah to miss school and I couldn't take off work so it was just the two of us for two days. That evening after school, we were in the kitchen listening to some songs he liked. He asked to hear "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)" by Matt Redman, and as the song started playing we both started singing along. We both knew the words and sang fervently. It was a moment of impromptu worship--father and son, singing our hearts out to the Father and Son and Spirit. I'd never shared anything like that with my oldest before and I treasured it, even in the moment.
When that song was done, Elijah asked to hear one of his favorites, "Days of Elijah" and we sang that one together too. I'm not sure why Elijah likes that song so much (though I'm sure having his name in the title has something to do with it!), but I know why it's come to mean so much to me.
I first heard this praise and worship standard as I walked into the Worthington Adventist Church one Sabbath when my colleague Tamaria Kulemeka was leading in worship. She was belting out this tune with the infectious joy that she always has, and the song became an immediate favorite of mine. But "Days of Elijah" became truly close to my heart in the hard, dark days immediately after my father-in-law died. Throughout that time, whenever the family traveled, my brother-in-law Matt drove the Leen women in his car, and I followed with the boys in our car. I drove the boys to the visitation, to the church for the funeral, and in the funeral procession to the cemetary and then back to the church. Sometime during those drives, we started listening to "Days of Elijah." The boys kept asking for it, and in truth, it soothed my ragged, grieving soul. The joy in the song took on a fierceness, determination to hold on to hope, even in the face of death. It reminded me, that indeed even as we followed the hearse to the cemetery, there still is "no God like Jehovah." It reminded me that the day is near when "behold He comes, riding on the clouds, shining like the sun" and then even death will be powerless before Him.
It's not the kind of music Dad enjoyed, but I can't help but think of him every time I hear it. I think of seeing him again, at the trumpets call. And on this first Father's Day without my father-in-law, I can't wait for the day when we'll both "lift our voices, it's the year of jubilee," for "out of Zion's hill salvation comes."
We have two versions of the song and we generally listened to both versions back to back while we drove around together. One is the version by Twila Paris embedded above. The other is the live Donnie McClurkin version below: