Friday, September 27, 2013

We all go in the hole...

Yesterday morning I had the privilege and honor of serving as a casket bearer for the earthly remains of my friend and fellow elder’s father.

The man who was being laid to rest was Dr. Robert Reymond. Dr. Reymond was an effective and brilliant pastor, author, professor, and theologian. Among Reformed churches especially, Dr. Reymond was a giant in modern times. His magnum opus is his excellently crafted Systematic Theology. His students uniformly declare him one of the most brilliant men they have ever known. I will always view it an honor to have carried Dr. Reymond’s casket to his final resting place, knowing his body and soul will some day be reunited.

Here is a picture of the freshly covered grave of Dr. Robert Reymond. A memorial stone will be placed there soon.

Please also notice the grave to the left. It’s older, but only by a couple years. The man who’s body lies under that site was a year older than Dr. Reymond, but died a little over two years ago. Yes, that’s my father’s gravesite.

So it is that my father’s body and Dr. Reymond’s lie close together, eventually to be reanimated and restored when our Lord Jesus has the trumpet sound for the great resurrection of the dead.

After people left the graveside committal service, I stood next to the site with my dear brother and new co-laborer in the gospel ministry at Redeemer, Jake Tassy. Jake knew my father as we were growing up. I am confident the Lord ordained the prayers of Jake and his family to move my father toward Christ and salvation. I think it struck Jake and I, the irony of what was before us.

My father was a common man. He was a blue collar worker born to a Sicilian sulfur miner turned Pennsylvania coal miner. My father worked on the railroad and later in the shipping area for the local Buffalo newspaper. He was a union man, unrefined, but wise about the world. There his body lays.

Dr. Reymond was born in Alabama and typified a southern, educated, gentleman. He went on to earn multiple degrees and become a true scholar, teacher, preacher and churchman. I believe time will test his many writings and sermons and find them worthy of timeless consideration.

In a brief moment of silence looking at the gravesites, standing there with my friend; Jake said- “Look at that- a common man from Buffalo and celebrated, famous theologian- they both go in the hole”.

So true. We all “go in the hole” folks. No one escapes, unless Jesus returns first.

It behooves each of us to be sure of where we go, after our bodies go in the hole.  There is only one way to know for sure.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

-  Jesus, recorded in John 5:24

1 comment:

Woody Woodward said...

I have to confess, your thoughts penetrated my soul and as I read your thoughts about your great father, tears welled up. I will never forget your 2007 Easter sermon, you entitled it, “They just keep coming!”
And to add Jake probing thought, as believers in Christ, “Our bodies go on hold as we go in the hole!”