Yesterday I attended the funeral of a family friend. We had first met Mark when we began attending the same church. He had a beautiful family and our paths crossed often as both of our families home schooled and were involved in many of the same things. When our children were smaller we were in a home school co-op together. Two years ago we moved to a different church and our paths crossed only infrequently. The last time we saw Mark was in August before a concert at the state fair. He told us that his time was limited. There were no more treatment options and that they had shared the finality of that with his boys. Mark did not think the boys fully grasped his impending death. One of them told him it was okay, they could still see all the baseball fields after Mark retired. Two weeks ago we had heard that Mark was privilege to have baptised three of his four boys. Mark knew Jesus and because of his cancer Mark was privileged to know Christ in suffering. He did not complain and often said that if his cancer was used to bring one person to a knowledge of his Savior then it would be worth it.
This is the first time in my life that a fellow believer has passed away and the first celebration of life service I have been honored to attend. It was not a funeral, not the end of life but instead a celebration of a life gone on to glory. For two hours; scripture was read, songs were sung, memories were shared and the gospel was presented three different times. No one in that auditorium left without knowing exactly what Mark believed. At the end of the service there was a slide show presentation accompanied by music. One of the songs by the David Crowder Band called How He Loves me was played. Softly, coming from the pew of Mark's family they began to sing along and soon everyone was singing along. There were no dry eyes. It was a life lived well on earth, secure in the knowledge of where he is now and knowing that it is not an end. We will all see him again.