“O when the saints, go marching in, O when the saints go marching in,…” You and I know this song, we are familiar with it – but only recently it was played, at a memorial service, so I have been thinking about it.
What about these marching saints? You might know some of them. You might have watched some of them. They might be a relative of yours, they might be your neighbor or someone at work or school. They might be most dear to you.
If you had known them for awhile, something happened in them. All of a sudden, they were changed. All of a sudden they had ‘beautiful feet.’ Like the feet described in Isaiah,
“How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaim peace, who bring glad tidings of good things, Who proclaim salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Is. 52:7.
It was way before they knew much about that ‘shining city’ they got ready for, that they had a talk with the Lord, , “O Lord, I want to be in that number!”
They all had a birth, and yes, they had a day that they left this earth, but they had a day when they crowned Him Lord of Lords. Yes, ‘They crowned Him Lord of Lords, and they said to God, “O Lord, I want to be in that number when the saints go marching in.” Maybe not in those exact words, but in the attitude of their heart!
What was it that brought them to that decision? Could the verse in the song actually help us understand?
“Now, I am just a lonely traveler. I’m plodding through this big, wide world of sin. I’m getting ready for that shining city where the saints go marching in.”
Do you think that God brings us all to a place where we finally become and realize that we are ‘just a lonely traveler, plodding through this big wide world of sin’, that we begin to seriously take notice of that ‘shining city where the saints go marching in’? And that we actually think seriously about wanting to ‘be in that number’.
Is it when ‘the sun refuses to shine’ that we take notice of those saints that marched in to heaven? And we discover that they had a march that was consistent. That had a step that didn’t fall. And even if they did fall in their step, being discouraged at times and in pain as they plodded through this ‘big, wide world of sin’, they had a Savior that upheld them in His hand.
Can you think of these saints and remember how they had resolution in their heart that kept them in time. This is the verse that comes to mind for me, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way.” Psalm 37:23. And He,(God) delights in his way! To think that the one thing good about these saints is that they believed God! God alone is good, but how amazing that the Lord delighted in them because they believed and walked in step with God.
And how God poured out His love in and through them, and how they stepped to the beat of His love each day they lived. ‘ O When the saints go marching in…’
But God had ordered some pretty difficult steps, some excruciatingly difficult days for many of His saints. But theirs steps continued on, even if there was a stumble, there was a song that kept these saints going. What could it have been? I believe it is written in the Psalms,
“Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down For the LORD upholds him with His hand.”Psalm 37:24. Isn’t that one of our greatest comforts? Don’t we have great consolation in fearful times knowing that we are in His hands? Always and forever.
When the saints go marching in, they go from life to life. There is no death. They seemed to be singing then and even now, “The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation;” Ex. 51:2.
They each had their own personal moment, when they decided that they needed a Savior.
Jesus’ arms are always open when a heart sings in truth,” O Lord, I want to be in that number.”
On that day they ‘crowned Him Lord of Lords’. And they followed God’s direction, whatever it may be, and they marched in airports and hospital rooms and doctor’s offices and cancer hospitals and in your living room, or your kitchen, and at your church -in the gentlest of ways, and they were ambassadors for Christ.
You know that. You saw it. They were always pointing to God, even when ‘the sun refused to shine.’ You witnessed it all.
And they still speak, even though for a time we are separated. Their main desire? You know it already – that you have that talk with The Savior, His name is Jesus, and let Him know,
“O Lord, I want to be in that number. When the trumpet sounds it’s call, how I want to be in that number…”
And the best news of all – we’ll all be reunited when the Son calls us home!
The best decision by far, that you will ever make in your life, is when you take notice of those saints that go marching in, and notice that they were pointing to Jesus, and you look to Him as well and say with them all, “Lord, I want to be in that number!”
Trust me, there will be angels singing, and I think all those saints, they will be singing too.