Sunday, April 06, 2008

My Dad in Glory

Today we pay tribute and celebrate the life of my Dad. To many, who have been so kind to support us and who remember him fondly, he was a friend; a mentor; a teacher; a preacher; an uncle; a grand-father; a brother; a father-in-law; a father; a husband; and most importantly he was a man of God. This was an underlying bedrock foundation upon which his whole life was securely grounded.

On the 17 January 1931 he was born of the flesh. At the age of 21 he was born of the Spirit. On the 21 March 2008 his body ceased to live. However, reports of his death are wildly exaggerated, as he his now more alive than ever. Since he was a young man and responded to the grace of God he has always lived his life with a passionate goal of being faithful to his Saviour. From very humble and poor beginnings in Bowral to his earlier days of ministry and adventures in the primitive western highlands of Papua New Guinea to counselling hardened criminals and prisoners he has always acted selflessly and peacefully working to the best of his ability and beyond at the work that God had prepared for him. He thanked God for his family and felt privileged to care for them deeply, all the while so pleased that all his family individually shared a common faith. Over all the poor health he has endured and suffered over the past 35 years or so he has always considered his life a blessing and would not change anything. All the good and bad times have sculpted him into the man and father whom I loved dearly. He was not a man of opinion as these can often change over time or be swayed by fickle aspects and influences. He was a man of conviction. He always spoke and acted out of deep conviction of his belief in a loving faithful God. Nothing could change his God-given conviction. As G. K. Chesterton said, "If a man doesn't stand for something, he will fall for anything." No one could push over my Dad. My Dad was a larger than life character who stood strong and faithful and always humble to praise God. He could not do otherwise as he stood int he shadow of the Cross.

As kids growing up we did not have much also and Mum and Dad would often go hungry so that we could eat. We were pretty poor amongst our community – but we had a richness of life to which nothing could compare.

Not long ago at a church service one Sunday the preacher asked the congregation if anyone had seen an angel. Now the preacher was probably speaking rhetorically but my Dad, without hesitation, spoke out in his usual loud, bold voice of conviction - "Seen an Angel? I married an Angel !" He could not have been more true as my Mum really is an Angel. She has faithfully loved, supported, prayed over and cared for Dad and all of her kids all our lives and the last 12 months have been extremely taxing on her as she continued to care for Dad in all his terrible pain. The self-effacing angel she is, thanks God for all His blessings upon their lives and gives God the glory and thanks of upholding her through the tough times. I thank God for such wonderful parents.

John Bunyan describes how Christian enters the Kingdom of Heaven – and I can see my Dad walking along with Christian:

The King then commanded to open the gate, That the righteous nation, said he, which keepeth the truth, may enter in. Now I saw in my dream my Dad and Christian walk in at the gate: and lo, as they entered, they were transfigured, and they had raiment put on that shone like gold. There was also that met them with harps and crowns, and gave them to them -- the harps to praise withal, and the crowns in token of honour. Then I heard in my dream that all the bells in the city rang again for joy, and that it was said unto them, Enter ye into the joy of your Lord. I also heard my Dad and Christian, and they sang with a loud voice, saying, Blessing and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth Upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever. Now, just as the gates were opened to let them in, I looked in after them, and, behold, the City shone like the sun; the streets also were paved with gold, and in them walked many men, with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden saxophones to sing praises withal. There were also of them that had wings, and they answered one another without intermission, saying, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord. And after that they shut up the gates; which, when I had seen, I wished myself among them.


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