Picture This: On July 8, 1973, Margaret Drummond will become the 55th member of the Old Hope/Broughton Christadelphian ecclesia. The place is called Little Bay where this event is about to occur. Miss Margaret Drummond stands anxiously as she awaits the question from the brother who has been entrusted with the responsibility of effecting the baptism.
But they are not alone. From the air, the heavenly host watches eagerly. From below, the members of the Broughton meeting watch with loving gaze from a vantage point on the beach. “Do you believe on the things concerning Jesus Christ and the coming kingdom of God on earth?” “I do.” “Upon this public confession of your faith, I baptize you.” A symbolic death, burial and resurrection are accomplished in one motion. Risen to a new life in Christ, Sis. Margaret devoutly renounces and puts away Adam and immediately enters a covenant relationship with Jesus. Thus is produced another occasion when God and man are synchronized in praise and joy over one repentant sinner.
A faithful sister
At the age of 69, Sis. Drummond knew the famous prayer of Moses recorded in Psalm 90. Therein Moses acknowledges the tremendous gulf between mortal man’s average existence of only 70 years, or 80 if strength prevails, to that of a God whose existence is “from everlasting to everlasting.” Against this background, Moses advances a most heartrending appeal to his God: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” His appeal never lost its substance through the ages. At this very stage in Sis. Drummonds’s life, she resets the spiritual age marker back to zero as she begins a new life in Christ. Time was running out for her, and no one was more aware of the fact than herself.
As a Sunday school student, I can remember seeing this aged sister turning up for memorial service well in advance of the time. That characterizes Sis. Drummond. Her zeal for the Lord is beyond containment. She has never been contentious at any stage of her life, and her sober, calm, and collected manner makes it impossible to overlook her. She was never daunted by the fact she had to walk the three-mile return journey to fellowship with her brothers and sisters at the Broughton meeting hall. She made the trip joyfully, energized by the spirit and buoyed by her inexhaustible zeal and passion for her new found love, Jesus the Christ.
The years wore on and Sis. Drummond was relocated to Montego Bay, where she lives with one of her sons since 1983. Since then, she has been in isolation and has to settle for the occasional visit of a representative of the brotherhood.
Longevity runs in the family, but little did Sis. Drummond know that the Lord had a triple figure written beside her name. Sunday, October 31, 2004, was a very special day for our oldest sister in Jamaica, as she celebrated her 100th birthday. It was also special for the four members of her spiritual family who were present to share the occasion: Ray and myself from the Broughton meeting and two brothers from Birmingham. In the presence of family, friends, and well wishers, the centenarian was helped to a chair at the head table. Seated to her immediate left was her only surviving sister who is a mere 12 years her junior. After the opening remarks, we offered prayers. Then Bro. Ray Arthurs brought the short message where he compared Sis. Drummond to the righteous of Psalm 1 and her five generations as her “leaves.”
Next were presentations. From a framed certified copy of her birth certificate to a greeting card from the Queen, Sis. Drummond was showered with many gifts. Then came the many unwritten tributes which followed the cutting of the cake, and the singing of the birthday song, which was lavishly served along with hugs and kisses from everyone. It was all so radiant that not even the hot afternoon sun could match it. She was overwhelmed by the occasion as the trickling tears of appreciation confirmed.
Again in Psalm 90, Moses pleads: “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.” His prayer was answered, for he was 120 when he died, “his eye was not dim nor his natural force abated” (Deut. 34:7). The beauty of the Lord has surely shone through the clouds of old age on Sis. Drummond and currently it has cast a breathtaking sunset as the hues spread far and wide, sights one may be privileged to see from the very beach where she traded Adam for Christ 31 years ago.
Her sight is dim but her mental faculties remain firmly intact and she hasn’t aged in appearance since the last time I saw her some 23 years ago. She may not get to 120 years on this side of Jordan, yet she trudges along unmindful of her age. What’s more important, she looks with eager anticipation to the day when the spiritual beauty of the Lord our God shall, in fullness, bestow upon her even the “sure mercies of David” – life immortal. To this end may we all join in saying, “Congratulations and God bless you sister.”