Katherine Eileen Burkett Fagen (March 3, 1947 – July 11, 2009) went to be with the Lord yesterday morning. She breathed her last with, Randy, her husband of 28 years by her side in their home. Randy was singing the Doxology when Katherine’s life ended.
In an e-mail Randy sent late yesterday, he mentioned Katherine’s lovely singing voice–he said she sang like a canary. This brought back memories of singing with all my sisters in the kitchen of the old house I grew up in while we did the dishes. Katherine was grown and away from home, but she came home several times a year, and when she did, on many of those visits we all did the dishes together. I am the youngest of all the children, and the sisters between me and Katherine are 6 and 12 years older than me. So I really learned to sing from them.
We sang what are now known as “gospel songs.” My older, more “sophisticated” sensibilities might keep me from singing these same songs now, but I remember the words to most of them because they were drilled into my head–not only in the kitchen, but also while driving in the car and cleaning the house. While these songs may not be “theologically astute,” they did put me on a solid footing for receiving biblical truths for the rest of my life. Here are just a few of the songs I remember singing with Katherine and my other 2 sisters:
“There’s Within My Heart a Melody,” “The Old Rugged Cross,” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” “WhenWe All Get to Heaven,” “His Name is Wonderful,” “Blessed Redeemer.”
This morning, as I was worshiping at our church, I thought about what Randy said. I envisioned all the Saints in this world and the next singing together, and now Katherine is on the other side. Our service ended with the hymn, “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.” Verse 3 goes like this:
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee.
Katherine is in Canaan now, offering her songs of praises to the King. Praise God for her faithful life. May her example encourage others (and me) to keep on living and singing faithfully until we are on the verge of the Jordan.