Today we gathered at the church where my dad served as pastor for thirty-six years. It was an emotional, wonderful, amazing day. It was really something special.
Here is a poem I shared during the program for him and my mom (she certainly was a partner in his ministry!)...
One foot in front of the other, he walked along a path
That he was called to follow, his leader just ahead.
It wasn't always easy, yes, the path was sometimes hard
But the One he followed somehow carried while He led.
The follower kept on walking, for years he persevered,
And when he thought he could no more move forward on his own
Another's strength would rescue him reminding him of this:
There is no thing we do ourselves, we never walk alone.
Along the path were thorny bushes, others crying out, ensnared,
And as his leader taught him to, he helped them from their places-
His hands helped push the thorns aside, he helped to disentangle,
He helped apply a soothing balm, wiped tears from their faces.
The troubles he encountered are too many to be numbered-
Sufferings, injustices, sickness, loss and dying.
Sometimes it seemed an endless stream of things that made no sense;
Easy came the question,"Is is even worth the trying?"
The One he followed turned to him, firm and fierce was He,
"Nothing is in vain, my friend, you keep your eyes on Me."
He knew this was the only way to make it on this path,
So he trained his eyes upon the Man who went down this road first.
He watched as this One walked along, as He called to those He saw.
He watched Him touch, and heal, and teach, and feed, and quench their thirst.
While he himself had stumbled as he walked along that path,
His Leader never faltered, and He never didn't have
Just the thing that someone needed; He knew so perfectly
How to meet the ones who came with dignity and love.
The follower spent many years walking down the path
With his eyes upon the Leader, and this opened up his heart.
While he saw the thorny bushes, he could also see the rose-
The petals full of fragrance, with beauty to impart.
He saw it in the shining warmth of two who become one,
He saw it in the radiant face of the mother with her child,
He saw it in the infant's cheeks, new and pink and glowing,
He saw it in the trembling lips as the new daddy smiled,
He saw it in the feathers of the cardinal who sang,
He saw it in the red-cheeked laugh of a little girl's delight,
He saw it in the sun-kissed skin of the boy upon the beach,
He saw it in the lingering pinkish sunset light.
He saw it when he looked and saw the faces that he loved,
He saw it when he looked upon his wife and family,
He saw it when he looked around at friends from now and then,
He saw it when he looked to see his Leader take a seat.
The One he followed said to him, full of love was He,
"Nothing is in vain, my friend, you kept your eyes on Me."
As I said the other day, my parents are leaving a wonderful legacy behind. What they are taking with them is a lifetime of memories. It was an honor to be a part of today's celebration! We heard stories, shared laughs, and shed some tears.
It was a beautiful day.