NIGHT PRAYER: Tuesday 7/26

Yes, Jesus had grandparents!  
An ancient tradition names Mary's parents as Anna and Joachim, 
both saints on the church calendar - today - July 26. 
They are the subjects of beautiful art, like this painting by Giotto.  
We don't often image saints kissing 
- here's a great exception to the rule! 
Detail from Anna and Joachim at the Golden Gate by Giotto

I called my dad's parents Ma and Pa,
my mom's were Memere and Pepere...

I remember them, Lord, so very well: 
    their faces, their eyes, their smiles, their laughter, 
    the clothes they wore, their pipes and their hair pins,
    and how they smelled of tobacco, perfume, a whiff of Four Roses
    and the soft, warm scent of old age...

I remember the food I ate at their tables, 
    the smell of it cooking atop their stoves;
I remember their homes on Tremont and Odell,
    upstairs and down, and the attics, too,
    where I played and explored on my visits...
I remember the quarters, nickels and dimes,
    treasures they'd press in my hand with a kiss
    and a whispered, "That's just for you!"
I remember them praying, at home and at church 
and wondering why they prayed so much,
morning, noon and night...

I can't remember them being young:
they always seemed old and growing older,
more fragile and frail, year after year...

I remember their passing  from this life to you:
    their dying, my loss, my missing them, 
    suddenly gone from my arms to yours,
    to the peace they'd been praying for all those years,
    every morning, noon and night...  
I remember the places they left behind:
    a recliner covered with sheep skin throws,
   a rocker next to the dining room window
      and one in the kitchen, close by the sink
   and chairs lined up across the front porch
      for sitting and sharing stories and laughter
         'til the sun finally set on the day...

All silent reminders of loved ones gone
   who filled those places with genuine love
      and my heart with memories sweet;
who prayed for me, of that I'm sure
   and even now lift me to you, Lord,
      morning, noon and night... 
Ma and Pa, Memere and Pepere,
please tell them, Lord, how I miss them,
that I love them still 
and wait for the day I'll see them again
when your merciful love reunites us all
as I trust and I pray this night...
Bless all our grandparents, 
     Son of Mary, Grandson of Anne and Joachim;
hold them close in your love and in your grace,
    in your peace and in your joy forever...
And as our grandparents did for us:
   protect us, Lord, while we're awake 
   and watch over us while we sleep 
   that awake, we might keep watch with you
   and asleep, rest in your peace...


Two songs this evening: the first, a happy thank you for the gift of grandparents; the second, a more reflective offering on growing old...

Thank You by Michael Land

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Thank you for your love, for your prayers, for the things you’ve given 
How could we recount all you’ve done on this side of heaven 
We’re grateful and we want to say… 
Thank you, 
For all the things you say and do 
Thank you, 
For showing us a love that’s true 
Thank you, 
This simple song is not enough 
Thank you, thank you, for loving us 
All those summer nights spent with you sittin’ on your porch swing 
I can still hear your voice and the songs that you’d sing 
Sweet memories that won’t fade away… 
The way you laugh, your goodbye kiss 
That faithful birthday card 
Your Bible and your prayer list 
Yes, that’s who you are

 A cautionary note: tonight's song may take you to the depths of your heart, to a tender, vulnerable place... There's sadness in Brel's music here - but we who hope in the Lord know that death is not the end, nor does it destroy the bonds love forges in our lives.  Even in sorrow, we trust that the mercy of God will gather us all together again in the joy of his kingdom - so let us console one another with our faith in Jesus!

The Old Folks by Jacques Brel 

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The old folks don't talk much
And they talk so slowly when they do
They are rich, they are poor, their illusions are gone
They share one heart for two

Their homes all smell of time, of old photographs
And an old-fashioned song
Though you may live in town, you live so far away
When you've lived too long

And have they laughed too much, do their dry voices crack
Talking of times gone by

Or have they cried too much, a tear or two
Still always seems to cloud the eye 
They tremble as they watch the old silver clock
When day is through
It tick-tocks oh so slow, it says, "Yes," it says, "No"
It says, "I'll wait for you"

The old folks dream no more
The books have gone to sleep, the piano's out of tune
The little cat is dead and no more do they sing
On a Sunday afternoon

The old folks move no more, their world's become too small
Their bodies feel like lead
They might look out the window or else sit in a chair
Or else they stay in bed

And if they still go out, arm in arm, arm in arm
In the morning's chill
It's to have a good cry, to say their last good-bye
To one who's older still

And then they go home to the old silver clock
When day is through
It tick-tocks oh so slow, it says, "Yes," it says, "No"
It says, "I'll wait for you"

The old folks never die
They just lay down their heads and go to sleep one day
They hold each other's hand like children in the dark
But one will get lost anyway

And the other will remain just sitting in that room
Which makes no sound
It doesn't matter now, the song has died away
And echoes all around

You'll see them when they walk through the sun-filled park
Where children run and play
It hurts too much to smile, it hurts too much but life goes on
For still another day

As they try to escape the old silver clock
When day is through
It tick-tocks oh so slow, it says, "Yes," it says, "No"
It says, "I'll wait for you"

The old, old silver clock that's hanging on the wall
That waits for us




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