Saturday, May 18, 2013

O When the Saints Go Marching In

photo from Jayne/Steve Parker
photo from Jayne/Steve Parker
If you missed this afternoon’s “Celebration of Life” memorial service for our great friend Roy Crenshaw, then you missed an opportunity not only to pay tribute to an extraordinary human being, but to learn something vitally important about what it means to walk with God.
I’ve already written a detailed post about Roy’s life (Tribute to A Life Well-Lived), so this weekend I simply want to draw attention to his testimony.
Rebekah put it well when she said that Roy’s testimony was a story he lived on a day-to-day basis. Some people stand up and share a five-minute, classic, “How I got saved” testimony, but one of the most eloquent, compelling witnesses to Jesus I’ve ever seen was the way that Roy Crenshaw told the truth about Gospel of Love, simply by being.
CAN I GET A WITNESS? Roy was a “Larger than Life” man who lived faith out loud. Roy constantly challenged the darkness by being the light, and he followed Jesus with such integrity that those privileged to know him could no more argue against the truth of the Gospel than they could argue against the fact of the sun having first been introduced to the moon.
image by Kelly Poirson
image by Kelly Poirson
That’s my definition of a saint: a person who goes out and lives their faith while other people are arguing about it. So it was more than fitting that – after Rebekah offered the benediction – we ended with a lively rendition of “O when the saints come marching in.” Mark started on the piano, Don jumped in immediately with his trombone, I added a simple progression of chords on my guitar, and Dave danced all over the music with blues edged New Orleans trumpet that sounded like it came from the angel Gabriel himself.
As we finished the first verse, the extended Crenshaw family (plus Rebekah) all fished colorful umbrellas and parasols from beneath the pews, and commenced to promenade around the front of the church and down the center aisle for the recessional. We must have played at least six to eight repeats, and the arrangement grew more festive every time.
Pic by Julie Hellman
And when I say “promenade” I mean shimmy, and dance, and sway, and wobble a little bit, and ripple, and spin those umbrellas, and occasionally glide sideways, and circle, and do a bit of a jig, and hold out one leg, contemplating the foot for a moment before placing it on the ground again. It was a Coming Home of A Saint kind of a shimmy post-benediction move-up-the-aisle rendition of “O When the saints come marching in.”
And another fine saint went marching home.

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