My mom passed from this world into the presence of the Lord less than three weeks ago. Since she faced a long journey through early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease (a journey of twenty years from the time the disease was detectable), I am so glad — beyond what you can probably imagine — that my mom is now with the Lord, in a place of rest, and with all her mental faculties restored while she awaits the resurrection and restoration of her body. My dad, sister, brother, and I each spoke at Mom’s memorial service about her genuine love for others and her faith in Christ. I’d like to share with you the last part of what I shared at that service.
I think at the core, the reason for this [that is, the reason for Mom’s genuine concern for others] was the simplicity of her faith in Christ. Mom certainly was intelligent enough; I had plenty of theological conversations with her over the years to demonstrate that. But at the core, her faith in Christ was really very simple; it was very straightforward … very focused. I think what may have happened is that when she recommitted her life to Jesus Christ during the Jesus Movement in California in 1970, she found herself so taken up with the love of Jesus that she never really got over it. It permeated her conversation, her time, her relationships, and her plans.
I can remember as an elementary school child listening to her as she walked around the house singing a simple chorus that went something like this:
There is a song that Jesus gave me.
It was sent from heaven above.
There never was a sweeter melody.
It’s the melody of love.
In my heart there rings a melody.
There rings a melody.
With heaven’s harmony.
In my heart there rings a melody.
There rings a melody of love.
It was obvious to me as a boy that Mom really was taken up with the simplicity of a walk with Jesus. She thought of Jesus as her friend. In fact, I can distinctly remember her saying to me on a number of occasions as she tucked me into bed when I was a child: “Even if all of your friends forget you, Jesus will always be your friend. Even if you feel like you have no friends, Jesus will always be there. He is your closest friend.”
I never heard Mom mention this verse, but there is a verse in the Bible — 2 Corinthians 11:3 — that has been really helpful to me. I often quote it to myself. It reads: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” It’s that last phrase that really speaks to me: “the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” I often speak it to myself: “Ken, be sure that nothing leads you astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” And sometimes when I quote it to myself, I think about Mom, whose simple and pure devotion to Christ was a model for me, reminding me that I needed to keep the main thing the main thing.
When we were living on Hill Park Drive in San Jose — perhaps when I was about seven years old — I remember Mom teaching me a song that fits her so very well.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus in the morning, Jesus at the noon time.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus when the sun goes down.
That was it. It was the purity and simplicity of my mom’s faith that helped me to believe, and the memory of that faith is precious to me. I don’t want anything to lead me astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. I miss Mom terribly — and it is true, because of her illness it really has been a long goodbye — but I want to publicly say how thankful I am for what she passed on to me, a simple and pure faith in Jesus Christ.