Five Years

We’re five years on now. Five years and a river of tears.

Five years since Christopher Laurie, our pastor’s son and our colleague, went to his forever home. It’s hard to believe those tragic days have passed so quickly. It seems like only yesterday we had our last conversation–a brief, airy talk about what was to be our 20th anniversary of crusades. Already, ideas were forming in his mind. It would be a great campaign unlike any we had ever attempted.

But he would celebrate it elsewhere, in a more grand and celestial place, in a way and in a place our imaginations could only hope to grasp. In his memory, we did our best down here, but it would’ve been better with him!

Today, five years down the road, we look forward to a 25th anniversary of crusades next year. We are thinking and planning, and remembering Chris and the others whom God has taken from our ranks. Men like Ralph Arthur, Jim Jonker, and James Lee.

They were, and are, part of our team still. From Chris’ artistic design direction, to Jim’s help with anchoring the ushers, to James’ attention to detail for the event blog, and Ralph’s shepherding those new believers in the disabilities sections of the stadium–they all played their parts to the glory of God.

We tend to look at these fellow soldiers as part of our past. But they are part of a continuum of ministry that takes us all into eternity. We ride this train together, though some reach the station sooner. Their journey complete, they now join a heavenly cloud of witnesses spurring us on.

Who knows what 30 years will bring? Five years ago Harvest America was not even on our radar. Now it appears to be our future. That fleeting resource called time, the precious moments we are given by God, serve up great opportunities. And because we are only guaranteed today, we attempt to give our best in these moments–giving all we have to advance the gospel together. In the process, we stop to remember those with whom we stood shoulder to shoulder not many days past. All the while, we are praying for Pastor Greg and Cathe, who have endured their great loss with grace, perseverance, and an abiding hope that will one day reunite us all in glory!

Until then, the words of Robert Frost seem befitting of our mission, “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”