Tell Me About Your Friend!

November 9, 2002
by Walter Haldorson

Romans 10:15 – How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace with God and bring glad tidings of good things. (TLB)

Shortly after my wife and I moved to Ontario, Canada, in 1970, we sought out the cemetery containing the grave of Joseph Scrivens, the author of the beloved hymn, What A Friend We Have In Jesus.

The cemetery is located near the village of Bewdley, just south of Peterborough, overlooking Rice Lake. Once the cemetery itself was found, Scriven's grave was quickly located. In 1920, the grave was marked by a sixteen-foot-high granite shaft, with one verse of his hymn engraved on each of three sides. The monument was unveiled by the then Premier of Ontario, in the presence of more than 8000 persons. In 1964, a Province of Ontario Archeological and Historic Sites Board plaque commemorating Scrivens was unveiled at the site.

Just as we were preparing to leave, an elderly lady emerged from a small, somewhat shabby house, immediately adjacent to the cemetery, and invited us in to her house for a cup of tea. The lady told us that she had been present at and had participated in the 1920 ceremony, and that she had been quietly living alone in the little house by the cemetery ever since. We had a delightful visit with her, and, as we stood up to leave, she asked us if, before we left, she might play for us Scriven's hymn on an old pump organ that stood in the room.

It was a moving experience for us, and it was far more meaningful to us than it could ever have been had we heard it performed in Carnegie Hall by the most acclaimed orchestra in the world. As the tired old organ wheezed out the tune, we could literally feel the presence of Jesus in the room with us.

We never made contact with or heard from the lady again, and she undoubtedly must have passed away years ago. But on that day, without using a lot of fancy words, she seized the opportunity to demonstrate quietly and effectively to us her love for her Friend. And it was impressed upon us that the smallest voice could often be the one that speaks the loudest!

Prayer: Remind us, Lord, that, in the hustle and bustle of daily living, we have a loving Friend above all loving friends, and help us, in our everyday lives, to recommend, by our quiet actions, our Friend and His love, to all we meet. Amen.

About the author:

Walter Haldorson <walter.haldorson@sympatico.ca>
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

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