“We’re of another world,” the preacher said, his statement arising from the story of someone who had visited a Pentecostal church for the first time.
“I felt like I was in another world,” the visitor had written of his time at what must have been a stirring service.
So then, on a CD this morning, I heard Pastor Paul Mooney affirming the visitor’s observation. “Yes, we are of another world.”
I’ve thought about that a lot today and it brought to mind a recent funeral Jerry and I attended in the state of Washington. Our dear friend Rev. Wendell Myers, the possessor of what seemed to be an exceptionally healthy body, though well into his 80s, was unexpectedly diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Less than five weeks later, he died.
The indomitable response by his family to such a quick death, the elegance of his funeral, and the sense of strength that pervaded the atmosphere confirmed my thinking (that would be emphasized this morning as I listened to that tremendous sermon) that a Christian is truly of another world. Our deaths are different. Our funerals are amazing.
Brother Myers was not involved politically in any church organization. Actually, I think at the time of his death, he belonged to no religious movement. He didn’t hold an office of any kind, he never preached to audiences numbered in the thousands; he was not accustomed to floodlights…nor to the limelight. He was a true man of God, though. Real. Authentic. True. He built three churches from the ground up. He was responsible for the first baptismal tank ever to be installed in a federal prison.
So, there they were. Scores of preachers, from multiple states, come to honor their colleague, their fellow, their comrade. For Christians are of another world, and our deaths are peerless.
I watched her weep– a young woman who had once called him pastor.
They had been married more than 60 years. She bent over him and spoke softly. “You were a good husband,” she said. “You were good to me. I’ll see you in Heaven.” Strength–the epitome of strength.
Of a different world? Yes, we are of an uncommon world, a rare, little-understood place. It is revealed in many ways, not the least of which is our dying, our funeral.