Beve, SK and I went to a memorial service this afternoon. And were swamped by memories. We revisited--with tears and laughter flowing in equal measure--the life of this too-young man who lived largely, cared about what mattered and little else. His life so imitated his Savior's you couldn't help but see the parallels (if you were the thinking sort, as I always am). Living his whole life in a small corner of the world, never marrying or having children, never owning property or making a big splash in the world of commerce or finance or...or just about anything this world values. But always choosing the road that led to Heaven. Always a fisher of people--giving his life away for this person or those children, for this Kingdom-making ministry or that one. Yes, this was a man who walked in the steps of the first Fisher of people, and even today, when one might have expected him to have taken a pass, him having gone on to heaven, after all, he'd actually left a letter to be read at his memorial. And this letter was the best sermon at that memorial. We could have simply packed it up and gone home after that, because he'd said it all. Live well the lives you've been given, pay less attention to rules and more attention to each other, enjoy each other and mostly--MOSTLY--don't let program get in the way of Jesus. Don't let anything get in the way of Jesus.
As I say, we could have packed it up and gone home then...except that we had to stand up, go out into the hall and practice those things. See, in that crowd were dozens--maybe hundreds!--of people we've known for many years, but haven't seen quite some time. Many of us no long go to the church where we all knew and were impacted by this man. Even P had moved on from there quite a while ago. But today, we all met and exchanged old stories and caught up on new ones, hugged and communed and really WERE the church. The kind of church God is always most pleased by, I think, because there were no politics or policies, no worries over budgets or committees or whatever else are legitimate concerns of the institution. But not on a day when grieving and remembering and celebrating and just being together is what counts. On such days (with food in ample supply as well, of course), the best of the Body comes out. I miss these people. I will always miss them. That will never change. And I'm glad that we are part of the Body together--whether together in person or in Spirit. Whether here on earth or in the Throne room with P and all those who are waiting for us--with their worshiping hats on and their hands lifted high!--I'm glad ALL these people are part of the community that has formed me into His likeness.
It was a privilege to be among them, as it was a privilege to know P. And I know--I KNOW--that he was laughing with us today, smirking a little (and yes, he could smirk!) but mostly, nodding his head and stroking his chin as he watched us live out what his letter (and his death) compelled us to do.
That's it, of course. "The love of Christ compels us." 2 Corinthians 5: 14 This was the verse we put on one of the T-shirts we wore on a mission trip to Mexico. It was out team motto that year. And it's as good a 'motto' as any for P's life, I think. The love of Christ compelled him...to just about everything.