Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Friend

Dealing with loss is something I do fairly often in my work as a minister. I recently looked back at the log book I keep of my pastoral work over the years, and had to sit and reflect a while when I saw how many funerals I have preached or assisted with over the past several years. Most of those were for church members, and most of those died after an illness which had involved me in some way or another. All of those losses were significant, to me and to the families of the ones who died. Last week, though, Deanna and I traveled to Columbus, Mississippi just before Thanksgiving to participate in the funeral of a very good friend. Gay Mims was a bivocational (educator and pastor) pastor in Columbus for many years, and he was my friend. Gay and I worked together in several areas, and in recent years, he had invited me to preach and teach in his church on several special occasions. Being with the good folks at Brooksville and Mt. Zion and spending time with Gay and Martha Jo are some of my greatest gifts. I was honored when Martha Jo wanted me to participate in his funeral. I know we kept folks there way, way too long that day, but all those preachers gathered there to bury one who had meant so much to us and who had taught us all so much took time! Gay's funeral was in the fellowship hall at Mt. Zion, a facility he had dreamed into being and which will stand in that community as a testament to his determination to serve his community. He was one of the finest people I have ever known. I still have much to learn from him. I miss him, but I am happy to have been able to have been a part of the celebration of his life and witness. This world is diminished by his physical absence, but he gave so much of himself to many of us while he was he that he will live on in ways he never imagined. I miss him. He was my friend.

1 comment:

Christopher Joiner said...

A fitting tribute to a genuine pastor. I wish we could have made it down there. I almost did, but then church stuff intervened. He will be missed. I'm realyl glad you were able to lend your voice to that witness of resurrection.