March 28, 2023 11:19 am
Our church home for many years, we watched with great sorrow to see the unspeakable tragedy at Covenant Presbyterian Church
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Years ago, we were struggling to find a church home in Nashville. A friend of ours that actually has known Gracie longer than I have, he knew her before her wreck, and he went to this church that was up on a hill in an area of Nashville called Green Hills.
And it was two miles down the road from our home. And so I went and I went into the church and the church did not have a sanctuary at the time. We all met in the fellowship hall, and the fellowship hall was kind of a multi-purpose setup. And I heard preaching from this man named Jim Bachman. Now some of you have been listening to the program for a long time, I've heard Jim on this program many times, I've had him on, and he has served as a great influence in my life for now almost 24 years. And I was listening to his preaching and then he had an associate pastor named Larry Ferris. And I listened to these two men preach the gospel. I went to Larry's Sunday school class and I immersed myself in the study of God's word from this church. My family came and we just sat there in stunned amazement as we listened to the gospel preached. And that was our intro into the church family at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Gracie had a surgery after we chose to become members there.
They have a membership class they go through and you meet with them. And she had had a surgery during that time and so Jim Bachman actually came to the hospital room and spent time with us and we took our membership vows in the hospital, how appropriate for us. And I love this church and these people. We've had some tough times there but nothing like what happened when this shooter decided to unleash unspeakable evil. There was a man there that I'd like to tell you about who worked there for many years and I knew that he had been killed long before the news shared it.
His name was Mike Hill. He was a custodian there and the moment I heard that Mike had lost his life I knew that Mike had put himself between that evil and those children and the people that he loved and served at that church. I was on the phone all day and watching the news from here in Montana and I was seeing the pictures that you all have seen of this church that I knew. I watched them build the sanctuary and I remember the first service we had in the sanctuary. I used to play every week and Jim had asked me to play for the church as people came in so that it would kind of foster a more reverent atmosphere for the church and the acoustics in there are spectacular. It was really built well and there's a beautiful Steinway grand piano there in the front and if you see the CD that I put out called Songs for the Caregiver the picture on the front is me playing in that sanctuary.
The thought of screams and bullets, gunfire being amplified throughout that entire building is just horrific. Mike, when I would practice every week I'd go over there and spend a lot of time just playing and just kind of working out the kinks in my soul in that sanctuary. There was another associate pastor, Jack Foster, that would come in and sit up in the choir loft and he would just listen and he'd ask me to play things.
Mike would be working in the sanctuary and I would play often and I'd take requests from him. He loved Gracie. He loved Gracie. Mike loved people.
He put up with me but he loved people and he would laugh at that. We had such a great time together with the times we spent and one of the last people that spoke to me before I left Nashville was Mike Hill and had a very emotional exchange. Mike was an exceptional man and I didn't know some of the other people. I knew people that were related to them and connected to them and I'm just stunned by the heartache but I knew Mike and it does not surprise me at all that he was the first line of defense. I don't know how much time he bought for others to be able to get to safety and for the police to arrive but I would suggest to you that Mike saved lives and will know when we get to heaven but I knew Mike and I knew that he would put himself between evil and those he loved without even compromise, without even thinking about it.
I just wanted to tell you about it and I wanted you to know who he was. I am not sure how to process all this any more than anybody else is but I grieve today, I think we all grieve today because we see such evil unleashed. I'm reminded of so many passages in scripture that talk about sorrow and loss and I recall to mind so many great hymns of our faith written by people in brutal horrific challenges and sorrow but even as those flood across my mind the one that stands out the most is Romans 8 26. The spirit also joins to help in our weakness because we do not know what to pray for as we should. But the spirit himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. One translation says intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. The King James says with groanings which cannot be uttered.
This is where we are as a community of faith, as a nation and the rest of the world looked on in horror. There will be people doing all kinds of analysis on this for some time. There will be political sides taken, battle lines will be drawn in the social media world and people will use all kinds of things to raise money for their cause.
They will do all kinds of things. I just want to tell you about Mike and about this church and about the community around them and the pastor, I don't know this pastor, I hear he's a wonderful man, he lost his daughter. A friend of mine's wife works for a man who lost his grandson there.
The loss is incalculable. As I watched body cam footage from the police officers and I saw men with guns rushing past where I used to go to Sunday school and listen to Larry and I watched them take down the assailant in that lobby area. I remember sitting there with Jack Foster many times and just talking and he would ask me about him and we'd talk about the challenges that we're facing with Gracie and different surgeries and just life.
And Jim would spend time with me there. It's hard to process all this and for that I'm grateful that we have a Holy Spirit that just grows for us. Things can't be uttered. This music that you're hearing was recorded in the sanctuary during the worship service one Sunday and I was playing with an exceptional violinist named Daniel Fisher. This hymn that has comforted uncounted people. With sorrows like sea billows rolling. Whatever my life now has taught me to say. It's will. It's will with my soul. It's will with my soul. It's will with my soul.
It's will. It's will with my soul. It's will with my soul. It's will with my soul. It's will with my soul. It's will. It's will with my soul. It's will with my soul. It's will.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-02 17:07:35 / 2023-04-02 17:11:20 / 4