Friday, September 30, 2011
Pastor's Perspective - Remembering Jonathan
Today marks the birthday of a dear brother who left us way too soon – Jonathan Booker.
For the many of you reading this who perhaps didn’t have the privilege of knowing ‘JB’, he was a true one-of-a-kind! He was a devoted husband to his sweet wife Viola. He was a dedicated father to his children Victor and Jasmia. He was a caring friend and a zealous follower of Jesus Christ. He was funny, energetic, gregarious, outspoken, hardworking, responsible, ambitious, loving and lovable. He was a treasure to us all and we all miss him. He would have been 31 today.
Yesterday I had the honor of officiating Estalita Tapnio Cross’s funeral service here at FCC. ‘Lita’ was the precious mother of Bart Cross, a cherished partner in the church. Lita, 64, was visiting and helping an ill brother in the Philippines, when she was violently attacked and senselessly killed over her purse. Simply put, Lita was a wonderful person. The building was packed yesterday with many who had been profoundly touched by her life and grief-stricken by her shocking death.
As I think about Jonathan today and Lita yesterday, I’m reminded of the brevity and uncertainty of life. I’m reminded that we live in a fallen, violent and unpredictable world. Tomorrow is a hope that comes with absolutely no guarantees. None of us are immune to the realities of evil. The good die young and bad things happen to them along the way. Death comes to the ones we label ‘good’ – the ones we categorize under ‘bad’ – the poor – the mighty and affluent – the despised – the young – the aged. Someone once said, ‘Death is an equal opportunity reality’ – and it is.
Yet, in the midst of the heart-breaking losses and jaw-dropping suddenlies, we can have hope! Because God the Father intentionally allowed something terribly-bad to happen to His Son, we all have access to a living hope. That through putting our faith in the completed redemptive work of Christ and His cross, we can have a hope and peaceful assurance that transcends the very worst scenarios this life can throw our way.
I was able to share yesterday that recently I took seven different flights to get to Kenya and back. On each flight someone stood in front of me and pointed to the closest door in the “unlikely event” the plane descends against the pilot’s will. Likewise, the closest and most reliable door available to me was in written form in the seat pocket in front of me.
Friends, like those flights, God is saying through a person (me) and God has said it clearly in written form (the Bible) that there is only one door that leads to everlasting life in His presence. In John 10 Jesus told us that He is that door. In John 14 He told us He is that way – the only way.
In conclusion, honestly speaking, if my plane is descending, I’m moving to that door! In a world that has fallen and continues to rapidly descending around us, isn’t it prudent to move toward that door?
Have you found that proven age-old door? His name is Jesus.
Knowing Jonathan the way I did, I think he’d want you to know that today.