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Thinking about the future

A church in this area posted a sign that said, “We know who holds the future.” That immediately made me think of a song that Dick and I sang together in church. I think we sang it for Easter Sunday.

Since my daughter has the piano at this point, she also has all of the books of music. I did not want to disturb her while she was working so I went on line to locate the words to the song. I recall that the words were particularly meaningful.

The song title that I was recalling was “I Don’t Know Who Holds Tomorrow.” I will provide the first three verses so you get what I mean. What I did not know is there are two more verses that I had never heard of! One of the newest recordings of the song was done by Alison Krauss who used this song as the title of her album. This gospel favorite was written by Ira Stanphil and dates back to the 1950s. It has also been recorded by the Gaithers and the Hoppers.

We sang many of the Gaither favorites in our years that we sang in church. Our children joined us while they were living at home. Each of them played guitar to accompany our family. We used to practice on the weekends when they were available. I know that singing like that was not their favorite thing to do, but in hindsight I think they are probably glad to have those memories of singing with their dad.

I Don’t Know Who Holds Tomorrow

I don’t know about tomorrow

I just live for day to day

I don’t borrow from the sunshine

For it’s skies may turn to gray.

I don’t worry o’er the future

For I know what Jesus said

And today I’ll walk beside Him

For He knows what lies ahead.

Many things about tomorrow

I don’t seem to understand

But I know who holds tomorrow

And I know who holds my hand.

During these trying times, that is a good message for all of use to remember. We are here for just a short while, but Jesus sees all and is in control of everything. We are basically a praying country although many of the “new age” people do not believe. It is up to us to show them that our religion works.

I have called upon God for numerous things — some large and some small. It is songs like this one that kept me going throughout my cancer treatment. Whenever I needed to keep still, I repeated the words of the songs that I knew so well. I sang songs from my childhood as well as more modern songs that the family sang.

We had a very active youth group when my children were attending our local church. We alternated things done for others and things that were fun for us. In reality we had fun doing things for others.

We also had a large youth choir. We went to nursing homes, other churches, and Christian groups to entertain. It was good for the young people and it was good for those we visited. Thank goodness for the faithfulness of those young people. Two of the group went on to be pastors. Others are doing jobs that would be deemed to be of service to others. I loved all of them. Our group was called “All God’s Children” a name taken from a song written by the Gaithers that we used as our theme song.

Before that group graduated, we did a cantata as a Christmas gift to our churches. When I first heard the music for “He Started the Whole World Singing” I was blown away. I sent for song books as well as accompaniment. At that time, we had three wonderful organists at our church. Two of them agreed to accompany the group.

We began practicing in October. There were many songs to learn and the music was difficult. Of those who chose to sing with us, most of them did not read music. I had to teach the parts one by one. Thank goodness for those young people. Most of them read music and were a big help.

By the last two weeks we added the narrators. That is when everything came together. The night of the performance I had laryngitis. All I could do was mouth the words to keep everyone together. It went very well. It was good for the young people to be joined by the other church members. It was an activity that spanned the generations. We had so many people in the choir loft for that performance that I had to bring in some stools for the young men in the back to sit on.

That music still thrills me. If you have never heard it, I invite you to look for it and listen.

Songs are inspirational. My husband and I used to argue. He felt the words were the most important part while I felt the music drew you in. In the end I think we were both right. It was the combination of the words and the music that made it work.

This week we celebrated Ash Wednesday — the beginning of the season of Lent. Although the 2021 version was somewhat different, it is a beginning. Our church is opening for the first time in months. We were all anxious to get back to worshipping as a church. I for one missed the members of my church family. I will be happy to see them on Sunday.

2020 was the year of our 100th anniversary. We planned two different celebrations both of which we had to cancel for the safety of our members. Maybe when things settle down, we will get to celebrate — belatedly.

One pastor that was at our church used to say, “He wins. I read the end of the book!” Just something for you to remember.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net

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