I went to a funeral yesterday at the church that I regularly attend. The person who passed on was the pastor of the church from 1961 until his retirement in 1990. After retiring, he continued to attend the church, so he was there for sixty years. He was 91. I will call him “Pastor B” in this post, to differentiate him from the current pastor, who spoke at the funeral.
Pastor B always sat in the very back of the sanctuary with his wife. I would greet him when I came into the sanctuary, or, if I were there first, he would greet me when he came in. He always praised me for being faithful. The current pastor was correct when he said that Pastor B made everyone feel like his best friend.
The pastor’s sermon reminded me of something else that Pastor B used to do. After the bell choir or the choir did its special music, Pastor B would be the first to clap. Then, everyone else would applaud. He was an encouraging person.
The pastor commented that Pastor B influenced the culture of that church. He made it more of a family. I see that anytime someone sits next to me at Sunday school and gets to know me. You don’t find that at every church.
What also stood out to me was that Pastor B was loving, even though he experienced his share of suffering. Two of his seven children preceded him in death. Although he got around very well, in terms of walking and driving, he experienced physical pain. He had cancer in his later years and underwent chemo.
I will miss greeting Pastor B at the church. The pastor talked about empty chairs where people we love used to sit. That will be felt this next Sunday, and long thereafter.