I was at the bedside of one of my closest friends when he passed into the next life about six years ago, my first thought was, “I’d love to know what he knows now.” I felt that way again yesterday when I heard that Brennan Manning had passed away. I know he had been very sick for a long time and rejoice that he has now entered into the fullness of the Father’s glory and can enjoy him forever without the frailties of our human flesh and the limitations of this age. He will be sorely missed here, and my heart goes out to those closest to him that will live for awhile with a Brennan-sized hole in their lives. For many, that will be quite large, but fortunately he has left many words behind to encourage others to understand how deeply loved by God they are.
Brennan Manning is the author of The Ragamuffin Gospel, Abba’s Child, Ruthless Trust, and numerous other books. You can see a list of them here at Amazon.com. If you’ve ever read a Manning book or heard him speak, his message was of the deep love of a Father who could reach into our most broken places with transforming compassion. A former Catholic priest, he had an ongoing struggle with alcoholism and wrote about it with such transparency and grace that it freed many others to a more honest journey with their own struggles. Unmasking the empty platitudes of religious obligatoin, he was a voice for the common person finding Jesus in the midst of darkness and discovering what a life-long journey with him might look like. You didn’t have to be wise or whole to discovery the joy of knowing God’s love.
If you haven’t read a Manning book now would be a good time to find out what you’ve missing. Abba’s Child, far and away was my favorite. He was a provocative writer whose openness and honesty made him an endearing figure and his passion for God was infectious to say the least. I have benefited greatly from his life and his writings and am so grateful that God allowed his gift to be so widely shared in the world.
I am convinced that for those who know God, what happens in the first moments after death has to be the ride of all rides. We weren’t created for the foibles and frustrations of this age, but for the glories of eternity in the presence of the Father. While I am content to live here as long as Father desires it, I realize that this is just the lobby for an eternity with him that none of us can imagine. Viewed from there, this life will just be a dew or a vapor. Brennan Manning arrived at the front of the line yesterday and got to finally pass through those doors.
I’d love to know what he knows now! If he could just write one more book….