On Friday Ray and I gathered with about fifty other friends and family members at the graveside of Bob, our precious brother in Christ. One of Bob’s brothers led us in “Amazing Grace.” His two other brothers shared stories with the group, and his sister read Psalm 139.
Then, his sister invited each of us to share our stories, too. People talked about Bob’s love for God, people, books, and theology; and those who had been part of the last two congregations in which Bob was a part spoke of his contributions in Bible classes. The funeral ended with Ray’s heartfelt and often tearful eulogy.
As the group milled around and encouraged his mother and siblings, a brother in Christ from Bob’s current congregation came to me earnestly wanting to share some stories. After he talked with me, I saw him go to other individuals to share his stories again and again. Though he had not told his stories to the whole group, I could tell that he urgently wanted others to hear what he knew. I don’t know this man’s name so I will call him Bill.
Bill told me (and others) that he believes he heard Bob’s last words. He had been to visit Bob in the intensive care unit at the hospital twice the day before Bob passed away. When he went for his second visit that evening, he had to wake Bob up to talk to him. Bill said, “I love you, brother.” Bob replied, “I love you, too.”
Bill also wanted us to know that when Louisiana experienced its terrible flooding last summer, their church made plans to go down to help. Though Bob was not really in good physical shape to go, he wanted very much to help. Bill decided to make that possible and drove Bob down separately from the rest of the group.
On another occasion, Bill was collecting money for a children’s Bible camp. Bob wanted to help. When Bob opened his wallet in front of Bill, Bill could see that the only money inside was two one dollar bills. Bob gave them both to Bill and said, “Do something for the kids.”
Serving. Loving. Giving. That was Bob all the way until he passed into eternity.
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.