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Thousands of Tongues Still Sing

  • Lucy Neeley Adams
  • 2008 24 May
Thousands of Tongues Still Sing

The merry month of May is merrier for me this year. Two great events of  significance have occurred and the memories will last forever. One of them was Mothers' Day, that special Sunday when children express love to their mothers.
My four adult children have always remembered to send me flowers or cards and to make phone calls. But this year it had greater meaning than ever. It began on Saturday morning. As usual, I received a telephone call from a florist. They said they were ready to make a delivery to my house and needed directions. My excitement grew.
Several hours passed before the next phone call. It was from a person at a hotel only a block away with a strange request. "A delivery man is here to bring flowers to you. He can't find your house so would you please go on the porch and wave him down, when you see the truck?"
With my husband, Woody, I went to the porch but saw no delivery truck. However, a man was walking toward our house bringing the flowers in his hand. There were three other people walking with him who also carried flowers.
As they got closer, we knew who the "delivery man" was. He needed no truck because he did not exist. Our three sons and our daughter (with the encouragement of their spouses) had created this gigantic surprise through the help of the florist and the hotel. John, Scott, Ben and Joy, silently walked toward us, with smiles that said, "We love you."
I was speechless but shouted, "Oh no" (meaning "oh no, I can't believe this"). As I sobbed they ran up the steps into my waiting arms. After hugs, kisses, more tears, laughter and supper at a fine restaurant, we looked at family pictures from earlier days. On Sunday morning we sat very close together in one pew at our church. I was enjoying the best Mothers' Day of my life and it coincided with that other great event, Pentecost Sunday.
Many Christians set aside this special time to remember the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples in Jerusalem, fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus.
        "When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all with one accord in one place.
         Suddenly a sound came from heaven, like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting" (Acts 2:1-2).
We ordered lunch and brought it home to eat. Soon we pushed the plates back but remained at our table. Each one had special memories of our growing family. Some were delightfully funny, but some were full of pain. We praised God for his healing power while our tears expressed deep love and thankfulness for one another.
Woody and I shared a recent experience of being overwhelmed. As we tried to solve it, we knew that our steps must be redirected to God's truth: "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone, for my expectation comes from Him"(Psalm 45:2). We cannot carry our burdens alone or we will fail.
Present day problems also came to the surface. It was a joy to pledge to one another that we would always be united in prayer as we lifted those concerns to God.
Two hours had quickly come and gone. It was a joy to be in the presence of each other and our Lord. We knew that each of us were united in the Spirit because we had all experienced a personal Pentecost in the last few years, so a time of prayer was a natural ending.
There is no doubt that the six members of the Adams' family were in one accord just as those disciples in Jerusalem. On May 11, 2008 we joined millions of Christians throughout the world who received a fresh and mighty wind of Pentecost.
A similar experience came to the great composer, Charles Wesley, in the mid 1700's. He grew up in the family of Samuel Wesley, an ordained priest in the Church of England. He and his brother John (two of nineteen children) felt the call to preach the gospel. Their ministry took them for a brief time as missionaries among the Indians in America. However, they became disheartened and returned to England where they experienced a time of depression.
After extensive prayer and study, both brothers' lives were touched by the power of God's blessed Holy Spirit. Charles described his experience on May 21, 1738 as an assurance of his salvation that went from his head to his heart. In his journal on that Sunday he wrote: "This is my day of Pentecost. I finally find myself at peace with God."
To celebrate that deeper love for God, he wrote a hymn on its first anniversary. It was inspired by a friend who said, "Had I a thousand tongues, I would praise God with them all."
            "O for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise
             The glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace!"
Charles became a prolific hymn writer of thousands of hymns and his brother John is responsible for the founding of the Methodist Church. Their parents never could have imagined the impact that their sons would have in the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Heavenly Father, your plan for family love and sharing is beautiful. Thank you for calling us to minister to one another as we share memories of your touch upon our lives. Through our love and laughter, love and tears, and our loving to pray, we are renewed according to your purpose. We trust our great Redeemer as thousands of tongues continue to sing your praises.

In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.
Lucy Neeley Adams  has always loved music. She began telling the story of hymns on Christian radio WWGM in Nashville, TN, in the '80s. She then wrote a newspaper column titled "Song Stories" for five years. During that time Lucy's book, 52 Hymn Story Devotions, was published by Abingdon Press in Nashville. Each of the 52 stories contained in the book is written in a devotional format, with the words of the hymn concluding each devotion.
Lucy, dubbed "The hymn lady," can be heard on the first Thursday of each month when she discusses hymn stories during a telephone interview with Michelle Mendoza of "Living Christian".  The program is aired on station  KCIS in Seattle, WA.
Lucy lives at Lake Junaluska, NC, with her minister husband, Woody. They have four children and fourteen grandchildren. She may be reached for comment at Visit her at