Write On!

Prompt: November 14, 2011

In Uncategorized, Writing Prompts on November 14, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Pick your favorite song and incorporate the lyrics into your story.

Have fun! We will. ūüôā

  1. Hope I’m doing this right. Here goes….

    As the song faded out, Jenny turned off the radio and thought about how the senses amazed her. Even at the age of thirty-three, the smell of a certain hairspray could transport her to a junior high gym locker. The taste of hot chocolate off the stove, not the powdered stuff from a package, could bring to life a decorated Christmas tree next to a roaring fire. But a song, even one she’d never heard before, could remind her of a person. And during this morning’s commute, Jenny is fairly certain she just had an intimate moment with Jimmy Needham and her satellite radio…

    I clasped my hands even tighter in my lap as the music began. It’s not like it was my first time ever to be in a church. It was just my first time in a long time. And to be fair, I had never been in a church like that one. The padded chairs were a little different from the wooden benches I remember as a child. Exactly where was I supposed to put my arms? Is there a church etiquette on who gets which armrest? Since I wasn’t sure, I just continued the Pollyana-like pose I had perfected up to that point. ¬†And where exactly was the grande piano or organ? Maybe it was hiding behind that massive palm in the corner. It’s not that I found the music to be unpleasant. The acoustic guitar was peaceful. And I admired the attractive woman on the stool whose voice didn’t crack. I’d be a basket-case. I just always assumed that a piano and organ were vital to the function of a church. Apparently not.

    I suppose I should have been prepared for the differences. ¬†Johnny had been talking about his “new church family” for the past four years. How it wasn’t stuffy and formal, how welcoming it was, how much he was learning about Jesus, how he wished I would come visit him one weekend and come see for myself. If the greeting I got today before the service was any indication, I think he was right. My fingers were still tingling twenty minutes later from one of the hugs a lady gave me in the foyer!

    Perhaps, I was a selfish teenager. I could have taken Johnny up on his offer to visit sooner. But why should I visit HIM? ¬†That’s what weekends and holiday breaks were for – to come home, visit your family and wash your laundry. It was his choice to go to a college two and a half hours away, not mine. I tried to talk him into staying at the local community college. Okay, maybe I wanted him around to drive me to all my high school functions. But who could blame me? He drove a convertible Jeep; my mom drove a mini-van. Oops, I really WAS a selfish teenager.

    Everyone stood up as the pastor started to read from the Bible. I tried to shake myself into concentration as I stood up a half-second behind the rest of the congregation. It was futile. On the outside I might have appeared to be listening intently, but my mind wandered back to that first collegiate Christmas break when Johnny came home four years ago. 

    Even as a fourteen year old, I was perceptive enough to recognize that something was different about my brother. Admittedly, I figured it was just the Freshman Fifteen until he announced to our family that he “got saved” that past month. As I studied him closer, I realized it wasn’t a weight gain that changed his appearance as much as a softening. Maybe there was a little softening around his belt line, but that wasn’t what I noticed the most. It was a softening around his eyes and mouth, a softening of his words. His words weren’t completely foreign to me. I went to my fair share of Easter it just wasn’t the story I expected to hear from my big brother. I expected tales of boorish professors, smelly roommates and, once behind closed doors, maybe even some juicy details of a wild party or two. I was fully expecting to live vicariously through Johnny over the next two weeks!

    Over that Christmas break, I realized quickly that Johnny’s first semester of college wasn’t what he or I expected. What was it Mom called it? A freshman fad? I seemed to be the only one who would listen to his stories and as a result, my two week vacation turned into my own personal Vacation Bible School. I wasn’t interested in what Johnny had to say as much as Johnny himself. Chances to see my brother were few so if he wanted to spend our time talking about the upcoming mission trip he was going on or his latest Bible study he was in, I’d take it.¬†

    Everything sounded interesting coming from Johnny. But he had that way about him. He had always loved life and people, but his new “family of believers” seemed to give him a purpose that I couldn’t quite grasp the concept of. And it was evident over the next four years that this “fad” was here to stay.¬†Johnny invited me to go along on mission trips, Christian concerts and even some weekend retreats. The few I attended were interesting – I might have even enjoyed them a little – but I had my own high school life and drama to distract me from getting too involved.

    I admit, there were times I would get a little jealous of Johnny’s new-found faith and how it took him away from our family, namely me. For instance, instead of coming home two years ago to see me Homecoming weekend, he stayed at school to help with some Disciple Now weekend with his new church. Did it really matter that I didn’t have a date and was going with a group of friends? Or how about last summer when he stayed the entire summer break in Kazakhstan working in an orphanage? But those feelings never lasted long. I never could stay mad at Johnny.

    The words of the pastor caught my attention like a slap to the face. “Service isn’t always easy. It can be a sacrifice of time and sometimes of money, but when done with the love of Christ, it will always be noticed. It may not be noticed or even appreciated by the people around you, but God knows and loves a servant’s heart. And it’s that love of Christ that keeps you serving, despite the hardship.”

    Johnny was constantly talking about the love of Christ…for him, for others, for me. But I don’t think it ever clicked until that moment the pastor explained it like that. I know it was hard on Johnny. The pressure he received from our parents to come home every chance conflicted with what he said he felt called to do. Perhaps I added to that pressure some with my teenage brattiness even though I KNEW Johnny wanted to be home with us. But maybe he was just sacrificing his time as a servant? Because of God’s love?

    “You see, God made the ultimate sacrifice for us, when He sent His Son to serve us and then die in our place. When we truly grasp that sacrifice, we can’t help but serve those around us because of the true appreciation of THE sacrifice of Jesus – we know there’s no greater way to show Jesus’s love to others than to humble ourselves as servants.”

    Oh. That’s what he meant all those times. I felt the familiar tug at my stomach. It’s the same feeling I would get when I wanted to ask Johnny more about what he was telling me about but was afraid of where the answers would lead. I didn’t want to go down that road until I was ready. But maybe now was that time. Time to understand what it meant to become a life-time servant like Johnny had been.

    “Johnny had that purpose. It may have only been four years ago that Johnny asked Jesus to be the Lord of His life, but he hit the ground running. His joy of knowing the Lord’s love for him poured out into every aspect of his life, especially his service. His death is tragic and unexpected, but he would want you to know that he didn’t waste his time on this Earth because he knew His purpose and was fulfilling it the best he knew how. And he wouldn’t want you to waste your time either. Normally I wouldn’t give an invitation at a funeral service but I think Johnny would want to give everyone the chance to learn more about how to have a servant’s heart like His. Please stand with me.”

    …I know that everyone’s salvation experience is special, but for Jenny it was also a tribute to Johnny. ¬†She wasn’t sure who wrote that song but I think they must have known her brother. Afterall, his WAS no bitter melody – it was a song of rejoicing!


    His was no bitter melody,
    No somber song for us to sing.
    His is the song of the Redeemed,
    a life spent for the coming King.
    His was no bitter melody.

    CHORUS: His is the song of rejoicing, rising up.
    Hear the sound of a son coming home from war.
    And at the end of our tears, surprisingly,
    we finally find something more.
    It’s the melody of the war.
    It’s the melody of the war.

    No cadence sweeter to Your ear,
    the harmony of love and fear –
    A servant’s heart and servant’s hands.
    Make me live more like this man.
    No cadence sweeter to Your ear.


    Oh great comforting God of old,
    We know your ways are higher than ours.
    And though sorrow comes at the stop of his song,
    We are comforted by You.
    We are comforted by You, God.



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