Apr 2, 2011

What a friend we have…

Mama C died last week.  She was quite a gal.  She painted fine china and hand-crafted dolls.  Her business, Artcraft Embroidery, made all the jerseys for The Phoenix Suns.  She was also the mother of my best friend, Bill.  I treasure a hand-painted chess set she made for me.  On the back of each piece she lovingly painted “Mama C”.  On Tuesday I went to Phoenix to say goodbye.

Bill is a Lutheran Pastor in Seattle, Washington.  He visited our congregation about two years ago and brought his mother along.  We ate at the Vail Steakhouse and reminisced about the good old days.  They were good old days for me, but I am not so sure they were for Mama C.  She had two boys by birth and another boy who kept showing up and would never leave.  Hey, I couldn’t help it. I felt comfortable there.  We had seven kids in our family so to be treated as royalty at the Crabtree house was wonderful.

I know the funeral was hard for Bill.  He and his mother were really close.  But for me, the day was strangely ephemeral.  On the one hand I was grieved to be at the funeral, but on the other hand I was filled with deep, deep joy at being with Bill and sharing the day with his wife and two girls.  After the funeral we went to Bill’s brother’s house and laughed and cried for hours.

There is something unique about a Christian friendship.  When you are united in Christ, a friendship has a life of its own.  I don’t get to see Bill that often.  He lives in Seattle and that’s a long way away.  But whenever we get together, it’s like the years that passed are only a few days.  And one short afternoon with Bill and his family was worth a hundred weeks on the most pristine ocean beach.

The Christian artist Michael W. Smith once beautifully captured this sentiment in a song.

And friends are friends forever

If the Lord's the Lord of them

And a friend will not say never

'Cause the welcome will not end

Though it's hard to let you go

In the Father's hands we know

That a lifetime's not too long

To live as friends

One of the greatest joys we can know as Christians is that one day we will all be united in our Father’s House.  And we will laugh and cry tears of joy forever.  An eternity won’t be long enough to enjoy it.


Pastor David Hook


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