504 Java Profile

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

On Mortality and Immortality

I experienced something that was brand new to me while worshiping with the folks at the Interlaken conference in Switzerland. It was Thursday morning and the last service of the week was underway. A group of volunteers from Virginia had conducted Vacation Bible School for the 40 or so children of the participants of the meeting. The precious children were singing their VBS songs, as cute as can be. The lyrics were from the Great Commission and the children sang of their obedience to "go" because Jesus said to go.

One of the volunteers from Virginia--an 81-year old man--was in the balcony taking pictures of the children and suddenly he fainted. Some people saw that he was in trouble and immediately rushed to help. A medical doctor (internal medicine), a physician's assistant, and a nurse were all present as European Baptists or volunteers from Virginia (part of the conference). Despite the immediate medical attention that the gentleman received, he was not responsive and passed away.

As we prayed, my mind raced all over the map. As one who has been a leader of trips, I felt for the group who was stunned and for the leaders who had to sort out both emotions and details. I felt for the family members who would hear the news back home (he was not married, but his 84-year old fiancee was with him). I felt for the conference as the worship service had to end abruptly and morphed into a prayer meeting. The auditorium was cleared so that medical personnel and ambulance could have room to work. Communion was cancelled and people who had flights began to leave.

I overheard more than one person say that when it was their time, that is the way they wanted to go. He was into his eighth decade of life and was on an international mission trip with people he loved and who loved him. He was enjoying a late-in-life romance and was working with children from all over Europe in Vacation Bible School. He listens to those precious children sing about Jesus and in an instant he is face to face with the object of worship for all those little voices. He did not suffer, did not linger, did not delay his trip to glory at all. The children sang of their willingness to go and then this Virginian saint moved quickly across the river, and I am sure he was willing to go.

I left with a disturbed peace that we would miss this godly hero, but he would wait for us where there is no pain and where he is surrounded by children and angels singing, "Worthy is the Lamb."

Thank you Jesus for a glimpse of heaven in Switzerland.

1 comment:

  1. Allen, it is amazing to see how God has sorted out our lives... Thanks for being a mentor, friend, and comrade in ministry. Let's catch up by phone sometime soon.