This week I attended a funeral/celebration of life of a dear friend of my family. Oddly, I spoke to several friends in the last couple of days who were also going to funerals this week. However tragic or expected death is, it happens for everyone. None of us escape this world alive. So what do we do as we face that eventuality?
My friend approached life with an incredible sense of humor and silliness, but also with depth and genuineness. He and his beautiful wife have 6 kids, 17 grandkids, 14 in-laws and 11 great-grands! One of his daughters commented to me at the celebration of his life that he was often asked if he was Catholic due to the number of children he had. He said, “no, we’re just sexy Protestants.” 😜
His passing and celebration were 5 months apart due to Covid and other circumstances. As his service approached, I contemplated several things.
One of these things is this:
Jesus was able to relate to rich and poor, young and old, women and men. Race, disease or public opinion held no barrier for His love and attention. My friend modeled these traits well. Early in his life, he resigned from the pastorship of a church because he fought against their racial segregation policies and the church disagreed. Instead of complying in order to rest in the security of provision for his family, he took a courageous step. My friend knew God would take care of him/them. And He did.
Another thing I pondered was that through my friend’s life that was riddled with life’s challenges, he remained connected to the vine and filled with humor in the way he viewed it all. A while back, My friend lost one of his feet due to arterial problems. He told me it was his way of dieting without changing his eating habits. He said of people with developmental disabilities, one of whom is his oldest daughter: “I think they are the normal ones.”
He saw this life as preparation for the big show – our eternal audience with the King of kings, so He didn’t take much here on earth too seriously. Having an artistic bent, one of his daughters alluded to his ability to see the “color” in everything. He certainly added color to everything! He also helped others to see the way God colored life. He would ask daily, “Where did you see God today?”
My friend will be missed, even though his imprints will remain. BUT I’ll see him again! Because He and I share the knowledge of how to make that happen: our common faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior- the One who died for us, and then rose from the dead to cement the hope that this life is just the precursor to the main event! We don’t get out of here alive, but through faith in Jesus, we live on forever! He also promises to wipe away every tear from our eyes, anxiety from our head, and hurt from our heart. While we are here, let’s look for God daily. He is present. When we’re done, I would love to meet you at Jesus’s throne!
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” – Revelation 21:3-5
*In memory of Dr. Denny Spear. 💜