When you spend time with Marie Lacey you are introduced to someone who just loves life.

Marie is from Northern Ireland, to be more specific, Belfast. She was born into a time of turmoil and was a young teen when the “Northern Ireland Troubles” began in 1968. Terrorism took 3,600 lives as her country was shackled by hate and disunity. Some close to her were killed.

Instead of cursing the darkness, she kept close to the light of the Gospel. She led others in worship and music at home and abroad but felt a new sense of hope when a cease-fire and peace were finally agreed upon on April 10, 1998, now called the “Good Friday Agreement.”

Marie has the gift of bringing people together and led an observance by forming a community choir. She did the same when the British government asked her to lead a celebration at the turn of the millennium.

Mac Davis once wrote, “Music is the universal language, and love is the key, To peace hope and understanding, and living in harmony, So take your brother by the hand and come along with me, Lift your voices to the sky, tell me what you see.” Marie could have just as easily written these lyrics and loves to intergrate “oldies” into their concerts.

The flicker of community choirs she organized over the years became a raging fire in 2009 when she formed the Belfast Community Gospel Choir (BCGC). Their message of peace, love and joy with a gospel flair gets your hands to clapping and your heart forgetting your troubles. The choir is not only Irish but composed of people from Nigeria, South Africa, Greece and Spain, modeling diversity instead of division. They have performed for Heads of State and Hoosiers, from Belfast, London, New York, Boston and South Bend.

You will see a smile in the Irish eyes of Marie because love always wins.

I hope you can join us on Good Friday at 7 p.m. at Lakeview Middle School auditorium, 848 E. Smith St., Warsaw, for a free concert (Freewill offering will be taken to support Heartline Pregnancy Center). The message of Good Friday and Easter will be shared. There may be trouble, but Jesus has overcome this world!

Ken Locke is community ministries director of The Salvation Army in Warsaw and director of the Greater Warsaw Ministerial Association. Have ideas for this column? Go to www.gwma.info.