“If I die,” my friend had asked, “will you lead the memorial service?” “I will,” I said.
We said Goodbye this week. 250 people came from as far as Menlo Park, CA and Seattle, WA. His daughter reflected on how, over the years, his hot Texas temper mellowed. A former student and friend lauded this Ph.D. university professor of history for his sharp mind. Although a Christian, his former student also said, my friend withheld his opinion on religion–unless a student asked. That exemplified his ethics as a Christian in a position of power.
At his memorial service, we sang some favorite hymns: “Amazing Grace,” “I’ll Fly Away,” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” (My friend was an expert in American military history.) Our pastor read from I Corinthians 15 (see 1/6 post), and I gave the message.
In our earlier conversation about what Scriptures to read at his memorial, my friend quoted: “Whatever things are true, whatever things, are noble, whatever things are right… think on these things.” I therefore preached on how the values of truth (vs. innuendo), nobility (vs. baseness), and right (i.e., how to get right with God) distinguished my friend and should distinguish us.
Family, friends, and former students grieved, but because of my friend’s faith in Jesus, with hope.