(Highlights of a telephone conversation this week with Mamie Grunau, our church historian and member of the Brunswick Area Historical Society.)
“Mamie, in these days of the coronavirus pandemic, what wisdom and encouragement can you offer to us youngsters who haven’t yet caught up to your 96 years upon this earth?”
Mamie: “I think of the saying, ‘This too shall pass.’ We’ve been through a lot over the years and we’re in the thick of it right now so it is hard to see that this will one day be over, but this too shall pass. Things might be different and we’ll have to make adjustments, but it shall pass. We’ll weather it together and get through it together.
“Mamie, I’ve got just the song!” I told her. With a smile in her voice she answered, “Don’t worry, that too will pass.” Then she said we needn’t worry because we would get to sing it with everyone when we get back to Sunday mornings at church.
O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
be thou our guide while troubles last, and our eternal home.
And the song brought to mind the verses from the Good Book, “From everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children -- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts” (Psalm 103:17-18).
“What else?” I asked. And Mamie answered, “I would simply encourage everyone to be mindful of others. Even in my building where visitors aren’t allowed and it’s easy to be discouraged, still I have seen many different ways of people watching out for others and not just themselves. How else can get through this together if we’re not together? And you don’t have to be 96 years in order to learn this lesson, you can learn it at any age.”
“Mamie, guess what? I’ve got just the song,” I told her. “I thought you might” she said, with just a tinge of resignation in her voice. “It’s a beach song from Southern California," I said, "so I don’t know if it ever made it to the shores of Lake Erie. Maybe we’ll have to go with a different one.” Here's that different one:
Jesu, Jesu fill us with your love, show us
how to serve the neighbors we have from you.
“Any last words before we hang up?” And Mamie answered, “I would tell everyone not give up hope. How can a person live without hope? As long as we have hope, we can continue, come what may. You’re still a little young, but remember, ‘faith, hope and love, these three abide.’ The greatest of these is love, but faith and hope are right behind.”
We said good-bye, Mamie and I, and so I’ll leave you with words that come from elsewhere in the Good Book, “We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5).
Let your wisdom, hope and encouragement shine forth today!