This is our life story.
It’s not over yet-
But I pray that before it ends
These words, these thoughts, and these memories here
Would encourage you all, whom God holds so dear.
Once upon a time,
I lived in a town called I
In the state of M.E.,
In the land of Myself.
My little brick house stood on a little back corner
On the boulevard of “Personal Will.”
My thoughts and my deeds in confusion swirled
I was lost in a forsaken world.
An enemy of God, a child of wrath-
That was me- yes me- walking right down the wide path
By sin and by hate
A worldly love, placing God second-rate.
For so many years, I thought my life was my own
To live and to love, to have and to hold.
God knocked on my heart’s door.
He asked for entry day after day.
By His marvelous grace, and mercy divine
He showed me my sin, my spiritual crimes-
I saw the light.
And after that day, my life had to change
I packed up my bags
My little brick house on the little back corner
On the boulevard of broken will.
And then, you may ask, what happened next?
To myself I died, and even more still,
I picked up my cross and followed Christ.
You see, I stood on sinking sand
I lived my own life, and from God’s will? I ran-
But thankfully, this was all part of God’s sovereign plan.
And you, yes you, all played a huge part
And since you are curious, I hope, let’s start.
I left everything behind
And pressed forward to find-
It wasn’t easy.
Not one bit.
But God, being a caring God,
Knew of my plight
And provided fellow soldiers
To help fight the good fight
To run the lifelong race
Without a glance looking back
And to tell all of God’s marvelous grace.
One day passed,
When I became weary, not knowing what to do.
A sister was up ahead on the road
Pressing on, she looked back,
Saw me at the crossroads-
The burden of sin weighing heavily on my pack
She called out to me, saying
To keep walking, be strong!
She cried out to me: Christ paid for it all!
My guilt fell away and I sang all day long.
I thought my sin was too great, you see
Its guilt, its power was taking over me
But that kind sister reminded me that day
That Christ is all-powerful, for all my sins He paid.
A few days later, we came upon a man
His hate for us was great,
His biting words railed the Lamb.
I snatched the bait.
But before words of pride could roll off of my tongue [pause]
A soldier reminded me that Christ lived to love.
My judgments were wrong, my criticisms many
But Christ died for them too, and not just for me.
Just moments later, we had somewhere to be
We were going to be late, no time to walk, you see
When a brother on the side dropped all he had there
To take us to our destination on a wagon and a mare
To see a soldier willing to serve and to love
Reminded me how I ought to live – because there’s no curve
For no one is better or worse than another
For we all deserve hell, but by grace are brother and sister.
As the days grew longer,
Our words showed less restraint
We spoke with little discretion
whether the words of a devil or a saint
And to a soldier they came
Those teasing words poking fun
But he took it like a man
They all laughed as one.
Truthfully, I would not have responded the same
Especially when a challenge was made to my name
But God held no grudges, and neither did he
Which taught me full well from my pride I am free.
With all these lessons in store
I felt I was ready, armed to the core
Not knowing what the future would bring
What a humbling that it would throw at me
On a hot summer’s day, we met a false teacher
Who spoke things contrary to a godly preacher.
A soldier, my brother, swung his sword of the Word
And showed me to fearlessly fight when lies stirred.
We came upon a fork in the dusty, dusty road
One marked “Good future”, the other “Future unknown”
One promising money, the other the Lord-
What was I to do? ( READ WITH FEELING )
Thankfully, I was not alone.
A sister of mine told me a piece of advice
One that stuck with me, with words ever so nice
To put God first and trust in Him
Is a privilege and a precious gift.
As our company grew
From one brother to many
From one sister to many
We trusted in God, this He knew.
We kept on in our journey
And our packs became light
We had nothing to eat
When we stopped for the night
A brother passed by,
And his provisions he shared
With all of us- no lie!
And bore the cost that we might richly fare
Others came to keep company that night
To advise and encourage
Their own duties pushed aside until light-
They sacrificed their time.
Time is money, and time runs out.
It also cannot be held at bay.
But they knew that this gift of life
Was one freely given and taken away.
In fact, in all that they did
They were faithful and godly
Decreasing themselves to increase the Lord God Almighty-
In everything, to Him be the glory.
They taught me time and time again in those days
To not pursue my own wants and desires
But to cling tightly to the cross
For love of this world leads only to fire.
Traversing a path not always marked out,
Our assembly kept climbing to the source, the fount
We reached the top of a humble hill
And what we saw there stopped us, made us still.
The beauty of creation, the love of our God
His perfect design for the universe shown.
Sunlight streamed through the valleys and pastures green
Showing His blessings, His works clearly seen.
Looking back on those nights
And remembering these acts
I am humbled and thankful
Of that, it’s a fact-
That God had a plan for you and for me.
That surrendering all, and in serving we
Can press on together, and before the Lord now
Will forever bow on bended knee and face to the ground.
Thank you Class of 2011!