Her fingers deftly covered the entire range of the piano, seemingly leaving very few keys out of the song. Aunt Alice's ability to play the melody in the right hand and break up chords with her left made me want to learn the piano so I could play like her. The Love of God's chords resonated through my Grandma's piano room while my beloved Uncle Paul's tenor rang through the house. 

Years and hundreds of piano lessons later, Uncle Paul asked me to accompany him one Easter playing The Holy City. It was an honor to do so for one of the last times he would perform it publicly. And my fingers tried to deftly go across the keys to meet Paul at the end of the song. (He gives and takes with the tempo so much that he always tells his accompanist with a twinkle in his eye, "You keep going, I'll meet you at the end.") In the days before he passed away, Paul was still able to sing in the hospital room and The Holy City was in his repertoire even then. 

It's not even close to Easter season, but our family walked into the sanctuary, processing to The Holy City being played on the organ. Five church pews full of dear family. Even after all the years of piano lessons, there's only one Aunt Alice and to try to replicate her style on the keys...I know I fell short, but it was nevertheless an honor to give Paul The Love of God as we celebrated his life.

After lunch and fellowship, the five church pews of family members made our way to the gravesite for a final farewell. Chords on the harmonica, one final song, a presentation of the colors from a grateful nation. But nothing takes my breath away like a 5-gun salute firing three times into the sky over golden fields ready for harvest. No send-off was more "Finer than frog hair". 

We played cribbage into the evening as a final commemoration and chance to visit with family from out of town. But it was the next morning on a sunrise walk that had Paul's voice echoing in my mind as he sang lyrics to The Love of God...

"The Love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave his son to win.
His erring child, He reconciled and pardoned from his sin.
 
Oh Love of God! How rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure,
the Saints' and Angels' song.
 
When hoary time shall pass away and earthly thrones and kingdoms fall
When men who here refuse to pray on rocks and hills and mountains call.
God's love so sure shall still endure all measureless and strong.
Redeeming grace to Adam's race--the Saints' and Angels' song.
Oh Love of God! How rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forever more endure,
the Saints' and Angels' song.

Could we with ink, the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.
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Oh Love of God! How rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The Saints' and Angels' song.
 
You keep going Uncle Paul, we'll meet you at the end. :)
Love,
Carrie

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