There are many tragic events in the news – my heart goes out to all the affected families from the Boston bombings to the Texas explosion. I pray for Gods hand of peace on each of the victims.
In the midst of all this sadness another story will be lost, an individual death from old age is not a tragedy and a lifelong Christian who dies at age 104, well, we know where he is today. This story touches me for very personal reasons. George Beverly Shea died yesterday at the ripe old age of 104. For those of you who don't know or remember, George sang on Billy Graham crusades for 60 years. I firmly believe that no one did a better rendition of “In the Garden”, “Ivory Palaces” or “The Old Rugged Cross” than his.
For me personally he was the sound of Sunday morning. At our house, even if you forgot it was Sunday you would be reminded because the music came on, it varied and could be the Gaither Trio or George Beverly Shea, not too many others made the Sunday morning cut. At Grandma's house Grandad would put on (almost always) George and his beautiful baritone. These were the days of the Hi-Fi stereo in that huge wooden cabinet that gave out a rich sound that today's plastic stereos just can't match. George set the tone for the morning, it was hard to start a fight or speak meanly to a sibling when the strains of gospel music and hymns are swirling around the house! Breakfast was more subdued and our minds were directed subtly heavenward. In the car on the road to church the radio was playing a variety of Christian music (does anyone else remember the 'Haven of Rest' radio show?)
Music took us to church and got us there in the proper frame of mind.
Maybe next Sunday in heaven Grandma and Grandad will hear George in person, what a treat! So, a fond farewell (for now) to a stranger who became like family through his music. The heavenly choir just gained a new soloist.
George Beverly Shea 1909 - 2013