Sermon Illustrations

We sing when we face death.

Lavena (Beanie) Peters was dying of liver cancer. I was at the hospital with her family, essentially on a deathwatch. Beanie’s pain was excruciating, and the pain medicine kept her in a nearly unconscious state. Others left the room for a moment; only Harriet her daughter and Ralph her husband were present with me. Suddenly Beanie opened her eyes. Looking at the ceiling, she said, “Sing.” I leaned over her bed and asked, “What did you say, Beanie?” “Sing.” “Do you want us to sing?” She nodded. “Do you want us to sing a hymn?” She nodded. So I started, and Ralph and Harriet joined in:

"I heard an old, old story about a Savior who came from glory;

How he gave his life on Calvary to save a wretch like me;

I heard about his groaning, of his precious blood’s atoning,

Then I repented of my sins and won the victory."

On the chorus, Beanie joined us:

"Oh victory in Jesus, my Savior forever!

He sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood;

He loved me ere I knew him and all my love is due him;

He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood."

We started singing the last verse, and Beanie’s voice rang out:

"I heard about a mansion he has built for me in glory,

And I heard about the streets of gold beyond the crystal sea;

About the angels singing, and the old redemption story;

And some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory."

Hours later, Beanie died. In the years since, both Punk and Harriet have gone home. I am the only person alive to share this story. Beanie taught me a life-changing lesson that day: Sing! Even in the face of death.

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