’It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.’ —W.C. Fields
So tell me…what do you answer to?
To begin this devotional thought, let us look at three passages of scripture (using the NLT).
1 Corinthians 15: 51-58:
51 “But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.
54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
Then, let’s look at Mathew 25: 21-23:
21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’
23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’”
Finally, Revelation 21:27:
27 “Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
At camp meeting a week ago, we heard a phenomenal arrangement of the hymn, “When the roll is called up yonder.” I do not know who did the arrangement, but it was conducted virtually by Dr. Lloyd Mallory. And in addition to the arrangement there was a slide show towards the end. I was blown away by the presentation. It took me by surprise. I was enjoying the rendition, and then suddenly I started seeing familiar faces scrolling. We saw stalwarts of our church: Walter Pearson, C.D. Brooks, Elder E.C. Ward. We saw Kobe Bryant, George Floyd, Martin Luther King, Whitney Houston, Rosa Parks, and Nathan Carter. There were others I did not recognize.
As this was AEC camp meeting, I guess there was not an inclination to feature those other than African Americans. Black lives do matter. However, when the roll is called up yonder, by God’s grace, we will also see Caucasians, Hispanics, Chinese, Indians, the whole gamut of humanity. One speaker envisioned heaven as a flower garden, not a fruit smoothie–as good as a smoothie is. But who knows? Maybe everyone will get a tan on the way. I just want to be there and to see you as well.
And that is what this little devotional thought is all about. Something to inspire us all to be there and to make the right choice today.
I do not know if there will be an actual roll that will be called. I am thinking the hymn is figurative rather than literal. Can you imagine how long it would take if each name had to be called? Not to mention we could not be called just by first name. Too many persons would step forward. Middle names would have to be included. The only way it might work is if names were called simultaneously. That would be amazing–a melodious cacophony of sorts with each person only hearing their name. In any instance, what do you want to be called on that day? What do you answer to now?
Can you imagine hearing your full name? Mine would be, Vaughn Phillip Owen ‘Segundo’ Andrews. Or maybe my home name would do. I can hear it—Vaughnie, are you there? I hope many of my family and friend’s names are called too. Like, Simeon Centeno Andrews, my grandfather who passed on when I was an adolescent. I had lived long enough that I remember him fondly. Also, Rolda Coomansingh – my grandmother who everyone just called ‘Mom.’ She was sure to have something to share any time we visited her. Vernetta Michelle Andrews Van Putten, my beloved sister, who hugged me tight the last time I saw her, and said prayerfully, ‘we’ll see each other again!’
Several others who have passed on: Wendell ‘Sebo’ Tinto – my childhood friend, big brother, and summer-job supervisor. I can’t forget drinking maltas and going to see basketball games with him. Josephus Gilbert – who inspired us to work hard. Mr. Lester Roach, who’s humor, candor, and friendship will long be remembered over and above his musical genius. Brian Alexander, my buddy at COPT who collapsed on the job but before he did, left the mark of a humble and gracious man–a true gentleman.
Reger Smith – who told me while dealing with cancer, ‘I am going down swinging.’ He gave 100% to anything he put his hand to. Pastor Orville Sutton, a gentle giant.
None of our family members and friends that have passed on can hear us now. But you and I can still hear each other. On that day, I would like to see you too and I hope you would like to see me also. Melissa Elise Blakeney Andrews. Johann David Vaughn Andrews. Jalen Simeon Andrews. Joshua Preston Andrews. Phyllis Loyola Moore Andrews. Vernon Euclid ‘Breeze’ Andrews. Veldon ‘Donnie’ Everton Phillipe and Shevi Andrews. Sydney, Von Michael, and Vian. Verleyne Michaela and Claudius Rodgers.
I would like to see you too, Earl Nathaniel ‘Noski’ Gooding. Lela May Moore Gooding. Dinsdale–Uncle Phonso, and Auntie Marlene Moore. Neitha Jamine Harris…. I would call each family member by name had I not been blessed with such a large family.
All my cousins, aunties and uncles. Auntie Thelda, Auntie Beulah, Auntie Arlene and Uncle Winston, Auntie Gilly and Uncle Bryan, Uncle Clarie and Aunt Debbie. Chippy and Sonja, Ndala and Stranley, Acolea and CJ, Alana, Dalelene and Frank, Damian and Riana. Auntie Denise and Uncle Frank. Farand, Hands, Jeanine and Jamie. Merida, Tonia and Leon, Antone, Luis and family. Auntie Yvonne and Uncle Laddie. The Stolls. The Coomansingh’s. The Moore’s. The Harris family. Auntie Cynthia and Auntie Rosie.
My in-laws, Mom and Dad Blakeney. Uncle Gordon and Auntie Pauline. Auntie Pat and Auntie Monica. Auntie Terry and Uncle Lennel. Paul, Deann and Colin, Dwayne and Tamara, Christopher and Summer, Scott and Neelah, Tiffany and Sam. The names can go on and on.
I would love to see friends, Peter and Jeanine Prime, Andre Sylvester, Cheryl Ann Jordan, Hummfree Elrey Brann, Calvin George Smith, Jermey Matthews, Hamdel Rick Tobias, Andrea Rosie Sutton Haynes, April Alice Roach Maule, Cleveland Julien, Theo Milford, Darrel Lall, Charles Bulgin, Uncle Len McArthur and Auntie Nichole Archer, Ralph Valle, Clem Hackett, Clive Antonio Smith, and Andy James. I would like to see my neighbors, Rupert and Gwen McCave, Woldo and family, and Ms. Fran. I would like to see my CFC family, my Eden’s Hope family, my Metrosingers family, my DMV brothers—Demetrius and Shakir, Earl Monkou, Norman and Chris Phelps. All my CUC/USC alum. My COPT co-workers, Rita, Cassandra, Lauron, Suzanne, Cathleen, Dianne, Terry with Layla, and so many others. My Metro family, my CPE family – Edrol, Christian and Angela, Andre Waller, Chris Clemons, Tim Bailey, Mike and Linda Gill, Gayle and Herb, Karen and Duane, Alyssa and Trent, Nicole and Alan. My riding partner Chris Thomas, and Carlynn Smith Thomas and family. I am calling all of you out.
My Maracas SDA brothers—Karl, Rawle, Clive, Edsel, Myron, Cyril, Joel, Kester. Marlon and Marvin Henry. My brother in South Africa – Ashley Le Fleur, though miles apart we are forever bonded by our experience surviving a snowstorm. My Tobago camping buddies, Leslie Hislop, Kerron Hislop, Kathleen Quashie. My Caribbean Chamber Singers family. Cheston Lawrence and family. Yes Cheston, do not think you are getting away. My liming buddies, partners in crime, Kerry and Kirk Quevedo. Those whom we may have had to cut ties–I am not here to judge. Everyone is a candidate for the kingdom including myself.
My LivingWell family – Romer, Rolly, Sheila, Lovella, Guillermo, Mario, Dona, Mayra, Dorrel, Sanjay, Kim, Eduardo, Nenita, Yvonne. My Bank of Commerce and FCB friends. Auntie Paula, Charlene, Nikki, Michelle Alexander, Mr. Sultan, Dexter Charles, Sheldon Narine, Jennifer Khan, Dane King. All my co-workers and past co-workers, and those in the struggle. The Holy Spirit is there to counteract the flesh if we let him. Let us keep praying for one another.
Jerry Dematas, Cliff Hunter, Novella Smith, Kenny and Rochelle Dunbar. I want to see my mentors, Ed Billingy, Adrian Westney, Inskip Alsop. My counselors—you know who you are. My teachers. Mrs. Ferdinand. Dr. George Legall.
My right-hand men, though they may not know it. Ulises, Yves, Rudy Soberanis, Wendell Caesar, Kwesi Millington, William Lewis. My brothers by other mothers, Mekus Samuel, Felix Pearson. My domino and 500 card playing partners, Joel JnFrancois, Mr. Thomson and Anthony Haddaway.
I want to see my cousin Nolan Patterson. Leo Ignacio, Bev and Michael Clarke, Marlene, Paulette, Carla, Delamae, Daveley-Ann, and Mrs. Wilson. Marquis Johns who baptized me, along with Rhonda. Kevin and Allison Dobson, Keith and Jackie, Leon and Corina Leslie, Carlisle, Therese, and Ossie. The Grays. Rosemae, Genelle, Dianne. Judeth and Julia. David and Conrad. There are so many others. This list cannot be considered exhaustive.
I would like to see my secondary school friends, Marvin ‘Chunka’ La Rode, Calvern Stewart, Kirton Francis, Cheryl Edwards.
I want to see my boys, Ashton ‘Ransom’ Kelly, and Dr. Dexter ‘Prophet’ Thomas– with his eyes open wide!
I want to see my entire FB family and all of you who have joined me on ‘Let us Sing a Song.’ Often, I cannot see you, but I would like us to see each other on the ‘sea of glass!’
There are many Bible characters I would like to meet as well. The apostle Paul, David, Moses, Nehemiah, Ezekiel, Jonah, Samson, Abraham & Sarah, to name a few.
Can you imagine what it would be like to see Jesus? To sit at his feet? To listen? To talk with him? What an awesome privilege it would be. And we will only get to do it by His grace and mercy.
I am sure you have many persons you would like to see as well. We would love to see Granny Ruby, and Lena Johnson.
If I did not mention you by name, it is not because I do not want to see you, it is probably because I do not have your number in my phone. We need to do something about that.
To all my family and friends, I do not have much more to say on this subject, really. Just to ask the question, ‘what will you answer to on that day? Are we ready for our names to be called? I just want to be there. How about you?
Revelation 22:17 says,
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER will, let him take the water of life freely.” (KJV)
We will not be taken by force. There will be no unhappy Christians in the kingdom. Whether we hear our real names or a nickname such as, Breeze, Noski or Segundo—it will not matter thereafter. He said he will give us a new name. And I sure would like to know what that is!