I’ve spent a lot of time in these last few weeks and months thinking about my Dad and my Aunt Mae, both of whom passed away earlier this year. One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot in relation to both of them is promises – Promises made by both of them either publicly or privately.
Dad of course promised to always look after me and care for me particularly as I was growing up, however latterly our roles were reversed, as it was Dad who needed to be looked after.
As for Aunt Mae, it’s the public promise she made many years ago, to serve God for all her life, that I’m thinking about. In the last few years of Aunt Mae’s life, her illness meant she was unable to attend the Salvation Army meetings anymore, however whenever we visited her, she always talked about the Army…albeit the Army she was talking about and asking about, was the Army of a few decades ago rather than our 21st century Army.
As far as Dad’s promise to look after me is concerned, he certainly did that, and, as far as I’m concerned, did that very well. And Aunt Mae’s always did her best to serve God all her life, particularly in her younger, more active days when she held various local officer positions at our home corps of Rutherglen Salvation Army.
I just hope that as I live my life, the promises I’ve made already, and any I make in the future, that I can be as successful in keeping my promises as both Dad and Aunt Mae have done. I believe I will only be able to succeed with this, if I keep the promise I made when firstly when I was 7 and then again when I was 18 years old, the promise Aunt Mae also made…to serve God all my days.
Maybe that is why in these last few weeks, as our band (Bellshill Salvation Army Band) has played the piece Guardian of My Soul, I’ve been so emotional – the second song featured in this piece is O Jesus I Have Promised to the tune of Aurelia:
To serve thee to the end,
Be thou for ever near me,
My Master and my friend.
I shall not fear the battle
If thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway,
If thou wilt be my guide. O let me feel thee near me; The world is ever near; I see the lights that dazzle, The tempting sounds I hear. My foes are ever near me, Around me and within; But, Jesus, draw thou nearer And shield my soul from sin. O let me hear thee speaking In accents clear and still, Above the storms of passion, The murmurs of self-will. O speak to reassure me, To chasten or control; O speak to make me listen, Thou guardian of my soul. O Jesus thou hast promised To all who follow thee, That where thou art in Glory, There shall thy servant be; And, Jesus, I have promised To serve thee to the end; O give me grace to follow, My Master and my friend. John Ernest Bode