The adage is so true: There are no friends like old friends.
I was blessed all the way down to my toenails this week to attend a 40-year reunion of the members of the 70s youth choir in honor of our beloved longtime choir director, Bill George, who recently turned 90 years young. (Big G, as we called him as cocky teens.)
Ah, those were the days … the months … the years! Despite pesky pimples, newly erupting hormones, strangely evolving bodies, and everyday teenage angst, about 70 fortunate teens at First Baptist Church of Starke, FL, joined together in mind, spirit, voice, and funny pink outfits (of course at the time, we thought we looked groovy and far out, man!) to sing praise to Papa God under Big G’s firm but loving tutelage.
We were fledgling adults finding ourselves, our faith, and our place in this world. And we didn’t realize at the time how very special it was to be able to do it together every single Monday night at 7 pm.
The sweet cherries on top of those ice creamy memories were the fabulous Ralph Carmichael musicals we presented for the church, school (yes, in those days, we were allowed to sing a Christian musical at the public high school!), the entire community, and even other venues sprinkled throughout the state.
One of my favorites was the time we traveled to Daytona in the church bus for a long weekend, presenting Tell It Like It Is for bikini-clad vacationers at the Daytona Beach band shell right on the pier.
So getting back together this week was more heart-warming than I can express. After a few, “Oh, I had the biggest crush on you back then” confessions and “Good heavens! I haven’t seen you in 40 years but I recognized you right away!” greetings, we launched into recreating the magic … blending our now-cracking voices to sing those marvelous old songs from Celebrate Life, Tell It Like It Is, and a handful of other amazing 1970-80 era, ground-breaking musicals that changed the course of Christian praise music for all time.
I’ll admit, I had a hard time singing around the lump in my throat, but of course, the most moving of all was when the lights dimmed, the spark was lit, and from hand to raised hand, the candle flame spread around the room to the heart-stirring lyrics of Pass It On:
“It only takes a spark … to get a fire going.
And soon all those around … will warm up in its glowing.
That’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it.
You spread His love to everyone … you want to pass it on.”
Hey, are you singing along? Of course you are. Hope that awesome praise gem from the past becomes a persistent little song worm in your mind that stays with you all day today, and continues to transport you into Papa God’s throne room every fifteen minutes, just like it’s doing for me.
So here’s to old times, golden friends you’ve nearly forgotten but remember in a warm gush when they’re suddenly standing right in front of you, and the incredible way our heavenly Father arranges all the chapters of our life into the perfect manuscript for molding us into the people He wants us to be.
Tell me, dear BBFF (Blessed Blog Friend Forever), what events/places/people from your teenage past have profoundly impacted your life?