We just returned home from a great time at Jonathan Byrd’s Cafeteria this evening listening to Bill and Gloria Gaither perform with a number of other Gospel groups they brought with them for the evening. The whole event brought back wonderful memories of the Gospel sings that the Byrd family has held throughout the years. In fact, Ginny Byrd told the audience this evening that they have been conducting these kinds of shows for twenty five years!
I vividly remember the first time I attended an evening like this. The place was packed with more than 600 guests who came together for dinner and an evening of entertainment. My friend Jonathan was welcoming the guests and doing the introductions for the evening when suddenly he turned to me and asked that I do the invocation before the meal. I was a little surprised, but headed up to the stage and asked the Lord’s blessing on the food. It was to become the first of many times that Janet and I were guests of the Byrd’s at these wonderful Gospel events.
In fact, the last Gospel event that Jonathan attended was a concert by the Gaithers, so tonight was very special in many ways. Especially since Jonathan went to be with the Lord in August, 2009 and we haven’t done an event like this in years – well before his death. Admittedly, I had forgotten how special these evenings are. The place is filled with people who have been regulars for years and after a wonderful dinner of chicken, roast beef, wonderful side dishes and terrific desserts, the entertainment started at 7:00 pm – and didn’t finish until after 9:45 pm, without an intermission.
It was yet another one of those rare evenings that you just know you will remember for years to come. We had family in from out of town and we all agreed that it was something special indeed. Since it is already incredibly late, and I could go on forever writing about Jonathan and my memories with him, suffice it to say that I was honored to ask the blessing this evening – yet again. What a thrill to to be involved and this time I couldn’t help but think about all the things that have transpired in my life since the first Sing I attended all those years ago. Seminary and a number of degrees, as well as a consulting practice, have all been a part of the fabric of my life during the last decade. But what wonderful memories.
The verse for this evening is one that popped into my mind as I was thinking about my seminary days. From Ephesians 5:18-20, we are told, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” That’s what this evening was all about – singing hymns and spiritual songs to the Lord. And God loves it when we sing to Him.
My encouragement this evening is to affirm that God wants each of us to rejoice and be filled with the Spirit. I can’t imagine that anyone in the house tonight couldn’t help but feel the presence of God during our time together. It was awesome. My prayer is that you will always sing psalms and hymns to the Lord in your heart. And I also pray that the Lord will bless you and keep you all the days of your life. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…