I attended the funeral of dear, dear friend yesterday. He was 57 years old and was suddenly and tragically killed last Thursday when a 19-year-old drove a dump truck through a stop sign and plowed into my friend’s car killing him instantly. I’ve known Steve for over 20 years as a close friend. We even served alongside each other in the Father’s kingdom when I was part of a more traditional congregation. Those who spoke of him yesterday rightly captured his child-like exuberance, his bedrock integrity and his passion for God’s truth.
At such moments I’m always struck by how fragile life is and how empty our pursuits in this world. At the end of it all what always matters most is our relationships with people and how we have encouraged them on this incredible journey of knowing the fullness of Father’s life. Steve lived like that. Even through some of my darkest days, he proved to be a faithful friend who sought the truth more than the comfort of an illusion. We stayed close even though life took us in different directions. Though I will miss him here another treasure of mine has been deposited in eternity where we will reunite one day.
His death also brought together a group of people who were walking with God together ten years ago and who were scattered shortly thereafter by a power-struggle between those purported to be leaders. I talked with many of those people at the graveside earlier in the morning and then as we gathered for a memorial service around noon. It was so good to see how many of those relationships were still intact and that they had survived the lies, the pain and the separation of a decade ago. As we sang songs of praise together I looked around the room and flashbacked to better days when we had shared the courts of the Lord together with love and affection. I was truly blessed to stand again with brothers and sisters I have deeply missed, even though our journeys took us different directions.
It took the death of a common friend to cut through the garbage of our different perceptions of God’s work and celebrate what was real in our relationships together. I had a very blessed day connecting, even if briefly with so many old friends and find that love truly does endure all things.
Perhaps the better we know this Jesus, his death will do the same thing for us and all the other pieces of his incredible family scattered through time and over the whole world.