Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!
A Tribute to Freedom

Rev. Starlette McNeill*

This tribute was prepared and presented for the members of Village Baptist Church on Sunday, July 5, 2015.


“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord”(1) in church doors opened. God’s arms are wide open as she collects me, gathers me in while hugging tightly. I get the feeling that I am welcomed and God’s acceptance continues on.

I peek at it in early morning risers who, like John the Baptist, prepare the way with vacuums and garbage bags, mops, paper towels and cleansers, with exotic coffees and an assortment of teas, fresh fruits and pastries, with sound checks and rehearsals of one, slide shows, setups and breakdowns. Identified by the doorkeepers of the house of God, with counted money that mysteriously multiplies to do the miraculous, with check requests, photocopies and signatures. I am reassured that God’s service continues on.

I witness it in Sunday school classes, heads bowed while searching sacred passages in hopes of finding our way, in heads bowed while praying, souls kneeling before the throne of God, in voices raised in love song and celebration of the Rock of all Ages, in the dancer’s body conforming to the shape of God’s mystery. I am reminded how God’s love continues on.

I recognize it in nursery workers, storytellers and children’s church leaders who become Christ’s hands, beckoning “the little children to come to him.”(2) Overgrown opinions trimmed back and the brush cleared; for another generation, the way to God continues on.

I see this glory and see Christ’s story each time a baby is dedicated. I am re-presented with the image of God and reminded of our newness in Christ with every body baptized. Christ is the living water(3) and God’s life among us continues on.

All week long, there come and go those who want to be in God’s house: studying the Bible and singing, answering phones and emails, planting, painting and repairing, writing prayers and sermons, all feeling right at home. God’s people continue on.

We have been accepted so that we might receive,
Called to answer with service,
Loosed to love,
Found to point the way,
And raised to live again.

Because of Christ, we are free to continue on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!

(1)These are the opening words of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” or “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” by Julia Ward Howe.
(2)Matthew 19.13-15
(3)John 4.10