Last week I linked up with Lisa-Jo Baker for her five-minute Friday series. I really enjoyed the process of unscripted writing for a mere five minutes, so I’m linking up with her again today. Her prompt this week is worship. And when I read that prompt this morning, I couldn’t get the memory of Susan Kim Jones out of my mind. Kim (as we all knew her), was a dear college friend of mine. In September 1999, Kim went home to be with the Lord after a gunman opened fire at Wedgwood Baptist Church. One moment, she was praising the Lord with eyes closed and hands uplifted, and the next she was praising Him face to face. Kim lived her life as an act of worship, and so today, I reflect on her for this five-minute Friday.
It will be 14 years this September. Fourteen years ago that she stood with arms uplifted and spirit surrendered worshipping the God she loved with abandoned affection. And then a shot rang out, shattering that reverent moment. And without warning, she met you, Lord. You wrapped her in your arms, lifted her out of this world and brought her straight to the throne of grace. And I know she heard the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
If ever there were an angel among us, it was Kim. The joy of the Lord filled her, and she radiated your spirit with a contagious beauty. The night before her homecoming, she sat before me and a small group of college women, her face aglow. She spoke the words of Psalm 139 and wept over the beauty and the mystery of being wonderfully made.
We couldn’t have seen what lay ahead the next day: evil and death would come to collide with life and grace. And yet isn’t that the same story that was written more than 2,000 years ago? When evil and death came to collide with life and grace at the foot of the cross. And when it seemed as though death had won, darkness rolled in like a blanket and covered the land, an earthquake rattled the ground, the curtain ripped in two, and you overcame the power of the grave!
And so we worship you in the plenty and we worship you in the few. We worshipped you then, and we worship you now, and she worshipped you then, and she worships you now … singing with the heavenly hosts and the saints who have gone before, glory, glory, glory.
I wept for her, uncontrollable sobs welling up from a broken heart. Wept for the loss, wept for the senseless, horrific tragedy of it all. But you are near to the broken hearted; you say blessed are they who mourn.
It’s been 14 years, but we will always remember. And her story goes on, touching even those in the darkest places, reaching into the deepest recesses of countries closed to your gospel. Chains are breaking off of hearts enslaved because her story tells your gospel, because her life reflected worship.