Wednesday, December 4, I delivered the following reflection for Alcorn State University’s 2013 Necrology memorial service.
Dr. Brown, with your presidential permission, we have been invited to once again look behind the curtain of eternity. And there behind this opaque drapery is what Frederick Buechner termed ” a room called remember.” This year a few more of Alcorn’s bravest were added to that room. These are they for whom the purple and the gold gave their blood a royal and noble hue. These are they who exchanged their Alcorn Ode for angelic Hallelujahs. These are they who traded in the shade of giant trees for the tree of Everlasting Life. These are they who gave up the crown of gems and put on an incorruptible crown of righteousness. There they are in that room called remember, for it is written “Let not your heart be troubled. If you believe in God, believe also in me. For in my Father’s house there are many mansions, many rooms.” And in that room they’re talking about us in this room. I can hear that great cloud of witnesses challenging us to grieve, to cry, to mourn, yes, to remember, but not like those who have no hope.
They tell us a message that the God of all comfort himself gives: that earth knows no sorrow that heaven cannot heal. That they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. That weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.
They say to us “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted, ye everlasting doors.”
Because there’s another one in that room. No, he did not matriculate through this giant in learning’s band. But I see him greeting those Alcorn braves. Some call him the Prince of Peace. Some call him the Consolation of Israel. Some call him the Bright and Morning Star. Some call him the Resurrection and the Life. Some call him a Wonderful Counselor.
But the Psalmist knows him by yet another name. And those in that room know him by another name. And they know that if we lift up our heads and hold them heavenward then the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty.
So I’m asking that the King of Glory, just for a little while, would leave that room called remember, and come on in this room called Oakland. Because my Grandmama told me Jesus is my doctor. He fills out all of our prescriptions. He gives us all of our medicine in the room.
For there is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the grief sick soul.
This is your invitation to remediate, to remember, and to rejoice, to reflection in this room.