A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Heaven's Jazz Band

This past Friday, Penny and I were standing in front of the historic St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter of New Orleans on a sunny day enjoying our three day get away. With the mighty Mississippi River in front of us and the smell of those wonderful Big Easy beneigt treats in the air, we found ourselves in the middle of an impromptu jazz concert there on the street. This was the New Orleans we were hoping to experience.

The casually dressed five member jazz band was performing a very long version of "O When the Saints Go Marching In." During different times of the song, a band member would step out and offer his unique instrumental solo to the delight of the crowd. One young man who looked to be in his early 20s had a trumpet in one hand and a trombone in the other and he played them back and forth effortlessly during his masterful solo performance.

As the band continued to play, we sat on a park bench and that's when I received the call about my aunt who had been in failing health in Maryland.  This was my mom's sister who just eight months earlier had attended my mom's funeral.  Aunt Isabelle & Uncle Bill lived on a farm in Maryland. My brother, sisters and I loved visiting them because we were able to see our cousins and play all day on their farm. They had a dog named, "Boots" who became my buddy. There's nothing like a farmer's "supper" at the end of the day complete with fresh vegetables and ice cream with all the toppings.

Hospice was now caring for Aunt Isabelle and the phone call was to let me know that she had just passed away. My heart sank as I thought about these two sisters who were very close to each other. Even in the midst of that sad moment, a smile came to my face as the jazz band continue to play, O when the saints go marching in, O when the saints go marching in. I how I want to be in that number when the saints go marching in.

I took comfort in knowing that they were  now reunited in that glorious eternal kingdom where there is no more sickness, sadness, dementia, tears, or death. They were in a place of total joy and peace. 

Looking back on that afternoon last week when I received the phone call about Aunt Isabelle, I wonder if that was one of those sacramental moments when heaven and earth mysteriously overlapped there in front of the St. Louis Cathedral. For that brief moment in time, I experienced heaven's welcome of another of God's saints, New Orleans style.

Oh how I want to be in that number.

No comments: