This post first appeared on our blog on August 13, 2012. It features a devotion by Bob McCoy and a photo by Marge McCoy.
Music is a universal human experience. Almost everyone experiences some form of it during their lives and derives enjoyment from it. I suspect it is like many common things in life – it is so common that we fail to appreciate the power that lies in it.
I was reminded of this on a recent Sunday afternoon visit to my mother in the Alzheimer’s unit of the nursing home where she resides. As I visited with Mom in the common area of the unit, I noticed a young nursing aide gathering several of the residents at another table. When she had them gathered around, she sat down and began to read to them from a book. I didn’t pay much attention at first but it gradually dawned on me that she was trying to read some of the responsive readings from the back of a church hymnal. She obviously didn’t read very well and struggled with some of the words that had been taken from the King James Version of the Bible. Except for one of the newer residents, a retired school teacher who tried to help her with pronunciations, her audience paid little attention – sitting glassy-eyed, each lost in their own world.
Finally finished with the reading, the young lady began leafing through the songs in the book and tried to get the residents to sing with her. This didn’t go much better than the reading. She didn’t know the tunes and struggled with the words to several hymns helped along by her school teacher mentor who clearly had spent a good portion of her life in church and knew the songs.
Then she turned the page and the miracle happened. She opened the page to “Jesus Loves Me”, a song she did know, and began to sing.
Jesus loves me, this I know.
Instantly, the group dynamics changed.
For the Bible tells me so.
Recognition and awareness flashed in glassy eyes, smiles appeared and one-by-one the residents began to join in and sing.
Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak but He is strong.
By the end of the first verse, the entire group was singing.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so!
Tears welled in my own eyes as I recognized that something very special and powerful was happening. The Holy Spirit, working through this simple little song, had touched something deep inside these pitiful souls and returned them to conscious awareness to praise the Lord for a couple of minutes. They continued on with another verse.
Jesus loves me, He will stay
Close beside me all the way.
If I love Him when I die,
He will take me home on high.
What a message of hope for these souls who are on the last mile of their earthly lives!
I was also impressed by the willingness of this young lady, who was surely aware of her shortcomings, to share her faith and witness to this group of people who appeared not to understand or care about her message. She stepped out on faith, used the abilities she did have, and trusted the Spirit to do the rest. What a wonderful thing it would be if all Christians were more like her!
Devotional by Bob McCoy