Minister's Study

Ministering, writing, and wrestling in a land flowing with sweet tea and deep-fried food

Monday, September 03, 2007

A death in the family

No one in my immediate physical family passed away last week. But a man in our church family did. After battling cancer for years, my brother in Christ, Larry Vann, passed away on Saturday. He leaves behind a wife and teenage daughter. Fortunately, he, his wife, and their daughter are all solid Christians.

Brother Larry requested a simple graveside service, with no frills and no great fuss, and that service will be held tomorrow. Since Brother Gibbs led him to the Lord a few years ago, I have asked him to bring a brief salvation address; he will also sing a favorite song. The rest of the Scripture reading and prayer I will take care of.

Brother Larry is a unique man, a standout in his profession, and a good husband and father by all testimonies I have heard and from what I have seen of him since I arrived here. Even in the hospital a few weeks ago, literally on his death bed, he led a young nephew of his wife's to a profession of faith in Christ. Larry would say that the opportunity to do that alone makes his struggle with cancer and passing at this time worthwhile. He will be missed here on earth, but welcomed with rejoicing in heaven. I look forward to seeing him again.

As an aside, this is the first death of a person actually in the church family since I have become the head pastor, and the first time I have prayed with a wife and daughter as they sat beside the cooling body that only minutes before held their husband and father. I cannot express how thankful I am for the peace that Larry displayed in his passing, a peace rooted in his faith in Jesus Christ, and for the peace and strength the Lord has granted his immediate family thus far.


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