We just had a delightful visit with our friends Jon and Terri Gleason and family. It is sweet how beloved Christian friends can be separated for years, and come together periodically with little more than seeming pause between “then” and “now”. Jon is a tent-maker missionary in Scotland. His love for his people is evident. Their presentation was more like looking at a family photo album than a typical missionary “slide presentation”. We are privileged to know these dear folks. And, the icing on the cake–they brought me a present!
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…well, the way to mine is through old books–hymn books in particular. They presented me with two old volumes that are a marvelous treasure. Here is a taste:
O how the thought that I shall know
Jesus who suffered here below,
To manifest God’s favour;
For me and all the saints I love,
Both here and with Himself above,
Should my delighted spirit move,
At that sweet word, “forever.”
Forever to behold Him shine,
Forever more to call Him mine,
And see Him still before me;
Forever on His face to gaze,
And meet His full assembled rays
While all His beauty He displays
To all His saints in glory.
Not all things else are half so dear
As is His blissful presence here;
What must it be in Heaven?
‘Tis Heaven on earth we hear Him say,
As now we journey day by day,
“O loved one, cast thy fears away,
Thy sins are all forgiven.”
But how will His celestial voice
Make our enraptured hearts rejoice,
When we shall stand before Him;
When we for Him no longer wait,
But, opened wide the heavenly gate,
We rise our glorious Lord to meet,
And all His saints adore Him.
~Joseph Swain (1761-1796)