Heidelberg Union Church welcomes Lynda Randle
Musical entertainers Jack and Friends provided the opening for Lynda Randle’s recent concert at Heidelberg Church.
Jack’s group is local and well known for his story telling, as well as the music.
Randle is the best gospel singer there is, according to Jack, who arranged the double show. Her musicians were on a London tour but she carried the program alone and very well.
Jason Ruhe of Christ’s Church at Lowhill was the pianist for Jack and Friends.
Other members of the group are Rich Gressley, Tom Meyers, Victoria Rose Lear, Ed and Stan Hamm and Brian Peters.
Forgotten in the introduction by Gressley was Jack Snyder, but that was soon fixed.
Gressley asked if there were any Phillies fans and if there was baseball in heaven.
There is, he was told but the bad news is Jack would be pitching the next day.
After singing “It is No Secret What God Can do,” Jack said that was “pretty good.”
During another joke, Jack said he asked for help to wash his car and was told “why don’t you ask a sponge.”
After some guitar music, Jack asked the audience, “Did you take notice that his fingers never leave his hand.”
Gressley said Jack likes baseball but “he got his butt kicked by my relatives.”
The next song said “I remember when I was just a lad and we played baseball.”
Next Gressley told another joke. “What kind of lights were there on Noah’s Ark,” asked Jack. The answer was “flood lights.”
They then sang “There Were Three Crosses on the Right Side of the Highway.”
Gressley said his uncle was choir director at Weisenberg Church so he ended up in the choir at age 13. This admission was followed by “Hey It’s Good to be Back Home Again.”
Jack said he and his wife put the program together.
He and Randle have been friends for 10 years and she has been coming to Heidelberg Church for five years.
Following the intermission, Randle came on stage.
“I love, love, love singing these songs — that he was willing to go to the cross for us. That is good news,” said Randle. “A heart that laughs is good for the body.”
She said God is so amazing. As a teenager she sang songs about what she believed in. Her pianist was Joey Gore, who played gentle music to accompany her talking.
“If you want to sing along, that’s OK tonight. There is one and only one superstar and that is Jesus,” Randle said, before singing “He Touched Me and Made Me Whole.”
Randle talked about her dad. He only had a fourth grade education but talked about a bag on the sidewalk with all the parts of a watch.
Her father told her, “ You have to shake things up,” to get a watch. Her father was a cabdriver.
Randle told the audience her mom went to North Carolina but when her dad asked her to come back, she did. “They taught us to love other people. We are all special to God.”
Randle was asked why black folks sing songs with words repeated. She said that way they heard and God heard.
“Why do white folks sing the chorus over and over to the verses?” she asked.
Her mother told her “Just stay on the road and God will bless you.” I couldn’t make it in this life without the Lord beside me.
She sang “Walk with me Lord. I need you, Jesus to walk with me.”
“Down by the Riverside” includes the words “Ain’t gonna study war no more.”
Randle said she spoke with Pastor Karen Yonney about the work the church does.
“I know there are ministries where families are torn apart. There is the opioid problem.
“Think of your own family. In some instances kids cannot go home.”
Randle said she is happy when she can help someone just by talking with them.
“I would lay awake at night. I love that God accepts whatever we bring to him,” Randle said. “In the darkest night Jesus is there. That’s my prayer.”
When Randle took a break, Yonney introduced Jim Byrnes of Family Promise, an organization that works to keep families together.
Byrnes told the story of a child who once sat next to him on a sofa.
“I’m warm and I’m safe thanks to you,” the child told him.
“We have graduates: two families each with two children who now have homes thanks to Family Promise,” Byrnes said. “It’s an epidemic. There are 650 homeless kids in Allentown. Fourteen congregations help us. It changes a life. If you come to your church they will care for you.”
A mother recently ran up to him and was given a key. Her family is moving into an apartment. A collection was taken to help Family Promise.
Randle told the audience she had a sad time when her 11-year-old nephew, Jason, came to stay for a while when his mother was using drugs. She put him on a plane to go home and soon thereafter, he was hit by a car and killed.
“I love that I get to hear the Lord speak about kids,” she said.
She played a recorded one minute sound of bird callings.
“If you thought God forgot you, remember the birds, ” she said in closings.