From my journal on August 19, 2022.
Last night our parents, Grandpa, and Lisa came over for supper. At the end of some visiting time Mom & Dad were going to leave so they could prep for tomorrow. Mom suggested we have prayer before they leave.
We all started to kneel, as would be customary, but Grandpa was having a hard time getting down, so we all stood together and held hands. I prayed, and as I prayed I had a flashback to years of prayers like this. The Leffler way for Friday or Sabbath evening prayers was to stand in a circle, holding hands, and Grandpa praying.
Now I was praying. As I neared the end of my prayer I spoke those words that I had heard Grandpa speak so many times, words I knew by heart: “we pray these things in the name of Him who taught us to say…”
In that moment I could barely hold my emotions, overwhelmed by the spiritual legacy I had received, not just from Grandpa, or my other grandparents, or my parents, but from all those who had gone before, “taking their cross” for the sake of the gospel to lands “dark through misapprehension of God” DA 22.1. The legacy of those who had stood, or knelt, or clasped hands in circles like this, knowing the uncertainty of the future, but had gone anyway.
“Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come…” And in those words the two dearest of all dear things on earth to me collided: the beautiful relations of family that God, our heavenly Father, has made me a part of, and the work of the kingdom of God on earth. I fell silent, trying to control my tears, while those around me prayed on.
It was August 19, the eve of our 10th anniversary. The ten happiest years of my life. What would my life have been like had my interest in a relationship with Rachel ended another way? Without her spiritual influence and constant self-sacrificing support where would my heartstrings be? Almost certainly upon earthly treasure.
The times we’ve been able to have all our parents together for a Friday evening prayer have been limited over the last 10 years. Between our folks’ time at Weimar and my folks’ time at AFM, it is a somewhat rare thing to have everyone together for a special Friday evening. Now both our parents are back here in Eureka, and we’re looking toward leaving: what are we thinking?
“Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…” Lord, this is my prayer. This is my only prayer. Save me not from this hour, but save all my family for that eternal day, when on heaven’s blissful shore our unbroken circle may raise our voices “to God and to the Lamb Who is the great I Am, while millions join the theme.”
And there was one who left behindAnnie Smith, 1852
The cherished friends of early years,
And honor, pleasure, wealth resigned,
To treat the path bedewed with tears.
Through trials deep and conflicts sore,
Yet still a smile of joy he wore:
I asked what buoyed his spirits up,
“O this!” said he “the blessed hope.”