By Pastor Ron Branch
June 6, 2014
Dear Mr. Clark,
Though I know that time is no longer a concern to you, it has been just over a month since you passed away. I know that your family misses you dearly, but I miss you, too. I certainly do not want that you leave the Lord’s presence in Heaven, but your departure from among our ranks here causes us grief.
Some more time with you would have been a blessing. But, then again, regardless of the amount of time spent with someone, it is never enough time with someone when their death-time arrives.
I will especially remember two things about you. First, you manifested yourself to me as a friend. I know that you did so to so many people during the course of your life time, but it was very special to me. Friendship is precious to me. When we agreed that we were “hungry,” we would have a friendly breakfast at Bob Evan’s restaurant — usually gravy and biscuits.
Furthermore, you openly shared your professional baseball experience with me. According to several of the action pictures of your play, you seemed to do a lot of sliding, which I do not understand, in that the plays were never close. In the one picture I am looking at right now here in my study — a game against the Dodgers — you are sprawled into a grandiose slide at the plate. The ball is visibly 10 to 12 feet from the plate. The Dodger catcher has moved to get out of your way and is blocking the view of the umpire. But, I still keep waiting for the umpire to call you out just for covering up his dish with dirt from your needless slide.
Nonetheless, I was particularly appreciative of the hope in Jesus Christ onto which you held and professed. It is a big help to all of us these days that your hope in Jesus Christ was sure. As I stood before the people at your funeral and uplifted the Savior of your soul, it was re-affirmed in my heart how the hope Jesus Christ gives dissipates hopeless sorrow.
Apostle Paul affirmed the truth that, because of Jesus Christ, we do not have to sorrow “even as others which have no hope.” Your family and I will continue to have connection with you because hope in Christ maintains a comforting connection that Death otherwise breaks, for I know assuredly that Death has not disconnected us.
I know this is true because the hope that Jesus gives annexes our vitally different spheres, transcending and touching the time of our temporal with your timeless eternal. Even though you are not here, and we are not there, we are still connected through Christ.
I am so thankful that Christ has brought victory to the human experience. The Master Physician gave Death a different diagnosis. The Master Carpenter reconstructed Death’s design. The Master Rabbi vitally re-interpreted Death’s dissertation. The Master of Parables gave the story of Death a happy ending.
Well, Mr. Clark, I will bring this note to a close. Obviously, I cannot e-mail it to you. I do not have a Twitter account, but that would not work, either.
But, I am offering it as an open letter for others to read, and, perhaps, their hope in Christ will strengthen. Perhaps someone will read this and come to realize that death is not the end of existence, and that Christ gives a sure hope for a Heavenly eternity for all who trust in Him to the salvation of their soul.
I usually end my notes with “God bless you richly,” but I know He is doing just that.
See you someday soon myself.