Saturday, November 2, 2013

Of Living Stones and Angel Wings

Today, I had the privilege of attending the service for my dear friend Kevin. It was not merely a Memorial Service, but a Celebration Service, for, with the Lord's help, he was more than a Good man. He was a GREAT man.
Kevin and Cheryl during our Mt. Hood Railroad venture.
 Someone (Karen or Betty?) mentioned that Kevin was a living stone; a memorial for those of us who knew him, and it's so true.

For those of us who knew Kevin; who watched how he lived, listened to his testimony, knew his heart, he was the best Ebenezer... memorial stone; living stone. We can look back during hard times and say - see here, this is how Kevin handled it; in stride, without complaint, even a bit like a bulldog in his tenacity. That's how he tackled his cancer diagnosis and he lived every day loving God and loving people, doing all he could to love them into the Kingdom.

In the Bible, a good example of an Ebenezer stone comes from 1 Samuel 7:12. Here it is in context, vs. 7-12, AKJV:

And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord: and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him. And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Beth-car. Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.

The New Testament tells us that this was a picture of Christ Jesus... the first and ultimate Living Stone. We read in 1 Peter 2:2-5 (AMP):

Like newborn babies you should crave (thirst for, earnestly desire) the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto [completed] salvation, Since you have [already] tasted the goodness and kindness of the Lord. Come to Him [then, to that] Living Stone which men tried and threw away, but which is chosen [and] precious in God’s sight. [Come] and, like living stones, be yourselves built [into] a spiritual house, for a holy (dedicated, consecrated) priesthood, to offer up [those] spiritual sacrifices [that are] acceptable and pleasing to God through Jesus Christ.

 It has been my immense blessing to know Kevin, and to know his wife, Cheryl. My life has forever been changed, for the best, because God in His wisdom placed these special and wonderful people in my life. And Kevin, who became a runner in his final years, is now racing the angels through the hallways of heaven... probably to the throne to praise his Lord and Savior, the Ultimate Living Stone, Jesus Christ.

When I wrote my post on Sunday after spending time with Cheryl, there was one detail that I didn't know: Kevin met the mortician in a Superman costume; fitting for such a wonderful man who helped draw so many to Jesus. He was always there for those around him, doing his best to remember everyone's name and need and prayer request, seeing what way he could help them. One friend mentioned that just a few months ago, Kevin was insisting on coming to help fix a plumbing issue at his house, and went under the house "just to be sure" there wasn't anything else wrong coming up the pipe... er, pike. He was like that: wanting to make sure the rest of us were prepared for what he, in his heart, already was... the day he strolled into heaven.

Or raced there.

Take your pick of the two, because either was as likely as the other.

But one thing that came to mind today was, knowing Kevin, he might have picked up the ukelele on the way and strummed it on his way past Saint Peter, simply to have an instrument to play for the King of Kings. So now, however it all really happened, Kevin is surrounded by the angels' wings, for he has flown. And I believe he can fly, because God gave me a super Superman to look up to and that man was an Ebenezer; an Ezer.

Fitting for a man who helped with the Scrooge play each year; fitting for a man whose life helped others take flight toward the Savior, and whose words inspired more than he will ever know. People he will only meet on the other side of the Gate.

So this is not goodbye. This isn't even farewell, dear Kevin. This is merely, it was wonderful having you in my life, and you will forever be in my heart, and I thank God for you, and I will see you again. I love you. Always.