This week, our church lost a member of our congregation.
Today we held a memorial service.
Wednesday night was mind-boggling and frightening. We could hear the sirens as our Pastor called us and asked us to pray. At that point, you could tell he was in shock, and it wasn't until his next call, about 10 minutes later, when we understood hat was actually going on. And at that point, it was to confirm that what he had seen was not only our friend being hit, but dying in his arms.
We don't know why he was on the road at that time of night. We don't know why he didn't call someone else for a ride, as he very often did. Contrary to the news story, he was not on his way home from church; he never made it there. We don't know why; he never, ever missed service, if he had to hitch a ride, call for a ride, pray for a ride, or walk there. This was the man who walked himself to the dump, with a grocery cart full of his trash, on a weekly basis, if he couldn't find someone with a truck to help him out.
We don't know why.
What we do know is that he told us, told the Lord over and over again that he would do anything to be in his service. And he did. Sometimes it was picking up trash, sometimes it was setting up the coffee table before service...he did whatever he could to help, zealously...to the point of being in the way sometimes.
That was something that you heard a lot at the memorial service today. How often Don could be in the way. He was rather eccentric, having lived alone with his wolf dogs for many years, and he was rather omnipresent. Wherever you went in town, in church...there he was; walking, looking for a ride, or trying to find a way to help out, even if it meant he was a bit in the way sometimes.
So we don't know why he was on that road at that moment. He did have a knack for being in the way... his heart and mind was so focused on the Lord. Having nothing does that to you, just like the Bible says;
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be
are the meek,
shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst
for they shall be satisfied.
And he was. When Don had nothing, he had the Lord.
In his very last, very violent moments on Earth, he had the Lord and even the blessing of his Pastor at his side. It has been good for our church, to be reminded where our Pastor excels- at being there when people need help and comfort the most.
Our Father does not neglect his children.
We don't know why Don was there on the road when he was, in the way as he so often could be, well-intentioned as he was....but we are certain that just as usual, he was there, in the way, because of the Lord's leading in his life.
We are sad that he is gone from our midst, but we are overjoyed that he is with our Savior.
And when we think of why God had him there, in the path of that drunken driver, on a road where so many drunks have swerved before and never had to face the consequences of their actions...we are humbled, we are awed, and we are certain of the good work that the Lord is accomplishing through this tragedy.