This past Friday night, I was fortunate to take part in a very special and heartwarming night of music and memories.
Paul and Marjorie Ferrin, (left), are very well known in the Christian music arena. Paul has done it all, and knows just about everyone worth knowing in the Christian music world. He is a true legend. Paul and Marge happen to be the parents of Kent, the music pastor at my church. As the elder Ferrins now do in their so-called retirement, they came to Rocklin to host an old fashioned hymn sing. If you click on the link, you’ll be taken to their website to learn more about them and their ministry.
In the pictures I’m featuring here, you’ll see a sampling of the folks who attended the event. By the time the evening got underway, the house was pretty full. These pictures were taken about 30 minutes before we started, so you still see a lot of empty seats. But you’ll also notice that the main demographic for the evening was a bit older than you might typically see in a church event of this size. There were many younger folks there too, including many teens, but as you can see, this really appeals to the older folks. They are who I want to focus on for this post.
As the evening went on, I was filled with warm feelings of happiness, but also a hint of sadness. The joy came in knowing I was a small part of giving these folks a taste of spiritual nostalgia. We even took requests from people in the audience as they leafed through hymnals to find the ones they found most special to them. The sad fact was, because most churches don’t even do hymns anymore, we actually had to borrow hundreds of hymnals from another area church just to facilitate our audience and choir. These songs are part of our heritage as Christians. These people are part of our heritage. It was a night not only to honor our musical heritage, but also those who have gone before us. The world has so changed in their lifetimes. In some ways, for the better. In many way, for the worse. But it’s not only the world that has changed. The church has changed. In some ways, for the better.
In other ways, not so much.
I am proud to have been part of a night which, if only for a night, focused on these facets of our heritage. In talking with dozens of folks in attendance after it was over, it was clear that it was an important night to them. They felt the love the Ferrins have for these timeless songs and the messages contained within them. Paul even shared some great stories of the songwriters which provided deeper insight into those who penned such wonderful songs.
I think it’s important for us to pay honor to those who have gone before us. I think it’s also important for us to not ignore the songs written generations, even hundreds of years before us. These songs and their lyrics haven’t all of a sudden become irrelevant simply because we have iPods and laptops.
Just as our country has holidays to remember our heritage and pay honor to those who sacrificed for our freedom, I believe it is equally, if not more important to remember those who are so important to our spiritual freedom we enjoy today. The fact is, our spiritual freedom is being threatened. War has been declared against our faith, not just from distant lands, but within our own borders.
We would do well to learn from those who have gone before us to learn how to fight to retain our freedom.