This week we had a celebration of life for a long time member of the congregation, Bob King. Bob died back in December, but his family wanted to have this special service on, what would have been, his 97th birthday. A large part of the service was music because Bob loved music. The Chorus of the Keys came to sing because Bob had been a prominent member of that group for years. They sang a song called “Wells Fargo Wagon”, which came with its own story. Apparently, in 1949, Bob was in a Barbershop Quartet that competed in the International Barbershop competition. Bob’s group placed 4th in the world. That isn’t the end of the story. The group that came in 5th was The Buffalo Bills who would later go on to star in the movie Music Man. So, every performance that the Chorus of the Keys did they told this story and introduced Bob as being a part of the group that beat The Buffalo Bills. Of course I heard the story and wondered when the football team started singing!
Bob had also been very involved with our preschool, even maintaining a position on their board all the way up to his death. He loved the kids and he would do anything to help this very special ministry. Because of this we had several of the kids from our preschool join us to sing a very special song for Bob called “This Little Light of Mine”. The kids joined our adult choir and they stole the show. They did such a wonderful job and during the fellowship time, after the service, it was all everyone could talk about. What a blessing it was to see the kids singing and dancing with such joy in celebration of a life well lived.
The following day I had chapel with the kids and I talked to them about how much they blessed all of the people at the service. It never dawned on any of the kids that they were blessing others, they just love the song and love to perform. We talked about the fact that our actions, the things we do and the things that we don’t do, every single day, speak loudly to the people around us. Our actions can both bless and curse others. Our actions can bring a smile to people’s faces, brighten their day or they can make people sad or mad or scared. We don’t always know how other people are reacting to our actions. We won’t always know when someone has been blessed by something we do. So, I wanted to take this opportunity to affirm these kids that they had done good and that they need to continue to be a blessing for our world. This is how we let our lights shine for all the world to see.
Stories were told at Bob’s celebration of life about how he gave cheese to the wine club in his neighborhood and how he would come to the exercise classes and sit in the back singing along with the music. Stories of Purdue University sports scores, rides home that were filled with lessons about life and fishing excursions. In Fellowship Hall two tables were filled with his awards and degrees, but what everyone remembered about Bob were silly little stories about cheese, fishing excursions, music and car ride conversations. People remembered how his actions blessed them, even when he was unaware. This is the stuff of life. Not to downplay achievements, awards and accolades, but what people will remember about you are the little times when who you are and what you did blessed them in some way. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let is shine!”