It was 16 years ago yesterday, June 25, 1996, that I received the worst phone call in my life.  My sister, Frances, was dead.  It was an unexpected and tragic transition from this life to the next, and last night’s hymn festival made the past present in a most wonderful way.  I remember singing “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy” at Fran’s funeral, my voice being silenced with tears of grief and comfort at the words “there is no place where earth’s sorrows are more felt than up in heaven.”  Yesterday evening we sang similar words of grief and comfort in Susan Cherwiens “In the deepest night,” singing “so with us in our grief God grieves, and round about us mournfully there are the tears of God.”  This, however, was not the hymn that brought me to tears last night.  That moment came when singing the words  ”Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”  ”Great is thy Faithfulness,” you see, was Fran’s favorite hymn, and last night we got to sing these words of grace and hope together from opposite sides of the river Jordan.  It was an eschatological moment to treasure.  Ah, the power of hymns!  To all those who sang their hearts out last night in Marquand Chapel – thank you!