Say So!

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, those he redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. (Psalm 107:1-3)

This morning I opened up an old worship book and found yet another poem of my father’s. I’m learning as the years go by how prolific he was in this, and not with any will of publishing them — no, they’re just tucked into bibles and books and picture frames and boxes I open, as if to be holy companions. This one is taped inside the front cover, as if to be reminded again and again that God is good:

I’m also working through his memoirs and finding out more about his journey, which often was plagued with troubles and sorrows, stresses and disappointments. Though dad praised God freely and often, this was not a denial of life’s twists and turns. Maybe instead it was his kind of defiant and stubborn clinging to hope in the presence and promises of the Holy One in the midst, and his ever new experiences with the love of Christ Jesus.

His spirit lingers. Just last week when a long putt unexpectedly fell, Curt smirked and said, “Well, if Jim were here he’d force you to sing!” True enough. My dad would often break into the doxology on the course, much to the chagrin of others longing for quiet to concentrate on their next shot. His was a spirit of faith, of optimism, of praise. This sustained him, and invited, sometimes cajoled those around him to join in. This is dad’s lingering witness, like that of the psalmist, who wants the redeemed of the Lord to say so, that the LORD is good.

Not long before my mom died, I was asking her about the prospect of heaven’s glory, and some kind of reunion with dad. She smiled, laughed a bit, and said, “My biggest concern is that he’ll make me sing the doxology!” and then she followed, “But there it will be ok I think.” Indeed!

This Sunday’s sabbath day to come will give us the chance to read and reflect on the haunting and beautiful words of Psalm 90. Take a look! In the meantime, in the midst of all the sorrows and challenges, anxieties and angers you have just now, find praise, and invite others into your strange peace and joy:

Praise God from whom all blessings all wonders all moments all breaths all surprises all glories all friendships all kindnesses and all good gifts flow and flow and flow.

Say So!

Peter Hawkinson, in memory of my father, James R. Hawkinson (1930-2011)

2 thoughts on “Say So!

  1. Another great family story, Hawk!! You are a good man! And I happen to be the witness to one of your dad’s doxology vignettes on the golf course….I think it might have been the Mike Holmgren golf outing. Great memories!!


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