(photo of Homer L. King)
WON’T THAT BE A HAPPY MEETING?
“…To meet the Lord in the air; and…ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17)
INTRO.: A hymn which looks forward to that time when we shall meet the Lord in the air and ever be with Him is “Won’t That Be a Happy Meeting?” (#662 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune was composed both by Homer Leonard King, who was born on April 4, 1892, at Orla, Laclede County, near Lebanon, MO, in a log cabin, in poverty, the son of Alvin and Mary (Davis) King. He was reared by humble Christian parents. Except for a year in Oklahoma and nearly two years in New Mexico, his home was near Lebanon, MO, until he moved to Stockton, CA, in 1961. King received his education in Dallas and Laclede Counties, MO, and one year in Oklahoma. He taught school for seven years in Missouri. At the age of 18 in Dec. of 1910, King obeyed the gospel, under the preaching of A. C. Crenshaw, of Harper, KS, in a series of meetings at Union (now the Lees Summit congregation), his home congregation for many years.
Immediately after his baptism KIng began to take an active part in the public work of the church. In 1914, King was united in matrimony to Maybelle Massie, to which union three children were born, two daughters and a son. King’s first sermon was preached in 1915, and two years later he conducted his first protracted meeting near Norwood, MO, baptizing three and a number were restored. For the next 47 years he was active in preaching the gospel, covering most of the states, except the New England states. In a meeting in Indiana, 40 responded, 36 being baptized. In another in Alabama, about 60 responded. In his old home congregation of Lee Summit, 27 were baptized. In a mission effort near Lebanon, MO, 31 were baptized. He has engaged in a number of debates, oral and written, including a written debate with N. L. Clark on the number of cups for one assembly, which was put out in a tract. King began his writing in the Apostolic Way. He also wrote for The Truth published by Harry Charles Harper, being an associate editor.
In 1932, Harper turned the publication to King, and the name was changed to Old Paths Advocate. He published this for 30 years, until he suffered a stroke, and it became necessary to turn the paper to Don McCord. On Sept. 16, 1933, Maybelle King departed this life. On April 27, 1938, Homer was united in matrimony to Helen Buck, to which union a son was born. King was also a song leader, a vocal music teacher, and a song writer. “Won’t That Be a Happy Meeting?” was copyrighted in 1944. He compiled 22 songbooks, and published a book of sermons in 1945. After 1962, King lived at Stockton, CA, and served as an elder in the Stockton congregation. He was noted for being in the fight against all departures from the Word of God, since his obedience to the gospel, in both the press and the pulpit. In 1976, his son, Don L. King, acquired the publishing responsibilities of the Old Paths Advocate. Homer L. King died on July 31, 1983, aged 91, at Stockton, San Joaquin County, CA, and was buried in Cherokee Memorial Park at Lodi, CA.
The song identifies several things which we eagerly anticipate when we meet the Lord.
I. Stanza 1 mentions being with the faithful
In this world we have our burdens,
And we often say good-by;
But we hope to meet the faithful
In that blessed home on high.
- All of us have our burdens or load to bear in this world: Gal. 6:5
- One of those burdens is having to say good-by to loved ones who die: Heb. 9:27
- But we shall meet them again when the faithful are told to enter in: Matt. 25:21
II. Stanza 2 mentions wearing the crown of life
Jesus promised to the Christian
A bright crown of life to wear,
And the glory of His presence,
With all heaven’s joys to share.
- Jesus has promised a crown of life to all who love His appearing: 2 Tim. 4:8
- But even greater than that is basking in the glory of His presence: 1 Thess. 2:19
- In addition, there will be all the other joys of heaven to share: 1 Pet. 1:3-5
III. Stanza 3 mentions receiving a reward
Then, dear brother, let us battle
In the fight of God’s dear Son;
We believe He will reward us
When life’s work on earth is done.
- As long as we remain in this life, we must battle in the fight of faith: 1 Tim. 6:12
- But those who are faithful in this warfare will receive a full reward: 2 Jn. v. 8
- This will occur when they rest from their labors: Rev. 14:13
CONCL.: The chorus provides motivation for us to prepare for that great meeting of the redeemed over there.
Won’t that be a happy meeting
With redeemed ones over there,
There to dwell with Christ forever
In that mansion bright and fair.
Many years ago, when I was working with a church which used Sacred Selections, we had a special song and prayer to prepare for an upcoming gospel meeting. I led this song, explaining that the “happy meeting” of the song was not our gospel meeting but that if we worked hard to make the gospel meeting a “happy meeting,” we might just help more people to be prepared for the “happy meeting” of the song. As Christians, we need to make sure that we live our lives here on earth in such a way so that we, by God’s grace, can know with assurance the answer to the question, “Won’t That Be a Happy Meeting?”