I offer you the pastoral confession: Some funerals are more difficult than others.
They just are.
I have found myself in a bit of a fog this week.
[Admittedly, we have an exhilarating January “swell” of ministry in the life of our church. To name just a few…We are in the heart of a one-of-a-kind congregational experience known as the Worship Dialogues. We have just launched a new Sunday School term. Upward Basketball Season is now in a full-court-press. Our Presidio Mission Team is packing carry-on items. Our Youth will experience their annual Disciple Now Retreat, beginning in two days. More than 300 members will gather for a creative Connections fellowship event at the Atlanta Gladiators game on Friday. Our Children’s Ministry continues to expand with innovation and energy. Our staff is preparing for our annual long-range vision retreat in two weeks, and I am scratching out first drafts for our 2nd annual State of the Church Address, scheduled in two weeks.]
Indeed, much life and love is underway at JCBC.
But these things have not created the fog.
Losing Bill has.
I find myself humbled by the indescribable grace of a friendship that (for me) has made every difference in these first few critical years of leadership and love as your Senior Pastor.
While I will offer most of my personal reflections tomorrow, at the Memorial Service, I want to simply confess here, that in tangible ways, I feel the palpable vacancy of his absence already.
I’ll admit I am caught a little off guard by it.
I didn’t expect to miss him so soon.
But I do.
And if I (one who only shared life and love with him for three short years) can be caught in the fog of sadness to this degree, I can only imagine how much more you (who shared a significant stretch of this journey with him) can be dazed by the haze of your own sorrow.
It is for this reason, Beloved, that we gather tomorrow.
Tomorrow, we will gather as one body, to do two things: to grieve and to hope.
We will gather to groan and grieve the great loss we have known.
And with defiant joy, we will hold up a life that held up so many for so long.
Tomorrow we will look long and far (through the fog of now) to the eternal and mysterious One who resides within: “Christ in (us), the hope of Glory.” (Col.1:27)
For now, be comforted, my friends.
And never forget how much he loved you.
Johns Creek Baptist Church