Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15)

 

We just attended the funeral celebration of one of the most holy saints in the Lord that we ever had the pleasure of knowing.

“Sister Esther” as her former pastor always called her, died recently in Alabama at the age of 92.  She had lived the last remaining years of life with her son, an only child.

 Esther spent over forty years as an elementary school teacher.  Her first two were in a one-room schoolhouse of grades one through eight.  This was way out in the “boonies” where she lived next to the school in a provided “teacherage” facility.  Her parents would drive out once a month to deliver supplies.  She had no car.  I was astounded when she once told me that during those two years there was never a discipline problem with any child!  Current teachers say such a thing is not possible.

Esther’s life is almost the perfect life of a dedicated Christian who was faithful to the Lord and to her church family.  Even when she had long passed the time of being an accomplished church pianist, the congregation loved to hear her accompany the singing with her hesitations, missed notes, and fumbling playing of the old hymns that she loved so well.  It’s like the singing of an aged saint whose once powerful voice can no longer be controlled in its weakened condition, sounding frail and quiet, but to the heavenly host is an anthem without equal.  The four living creatures of heaven continuously praising God with “Holy, Holy, Holy,” might even stop and listen (Rev. 4:8)

Esther’s meals were legendary.  Even in her advanced years she delighted in having a table full after church on Sunday, and wouldn’t hardly allow anyone to help her out.  She would do anything for other people without a thought for her own comfort or convenience.  Never, and I mean never, did I ever hear Esther speak ill of a single person.

Even when her husband no longer shared the faith with Esther, she continued to serve the Lord alone.  And when even Christians would have given up on a seemingly hopeless and often-contentious marriage, Esther took her vows seriously and continued to honor the promises.  Always true to the Lord, any resistance from the home had no affect on Esther’s dedicated commitment to serving the Lord and others.  Her spirit and demeanor were unchanged and unshakable.

In the 1950’s, Pete Seeger wrote and recorded the song, “Where Have all the Flowers Gone,” which in subsequent years was recorded by just about everyone.  It is a clever war protest song of the cycle of life beginning with, and ending with, flowers.  It went from flowers, to young girls, to soldiers, to graveyards, and back to flowers again.  The final line of each verse was, “When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?”  The idea was the futility of war.  It was silly simply because it doesn’t take much thought to see that the cycle of flowers back to flowers happens anyway, without the war.  The futility is in the endless cycle of meaningless materialistic existence.  Yes, when will they ever learn?

But, not so with the Christian.  1 Peter 1: 24 states, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”  And that word of the Lord is, Esther traded her earthly “glory” for a heavenly one that will not wither, fade nor fall.  Paul states that to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8), and at the end of time the body sown perishable, will be raised imperishable (1 Cor. 1:42).  Praise God.

So, where have all the flowers gone?  Well, the “Esther Flower,” in the blink of an eye, blossomed anew in the heavenly realms, and if we happen to eat in the new heaven and new earth, Esther will be a master chef, and probably play dinner music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. That is a beautiful tribute to a precious woman of God. I remember Sister Esther and picture her sitting at that piano. Oh that I would live my life with the same pure whole-hearted dedication. That was just beautiful Dad!

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