First I must ask if there is anyway I can be a Mormon and Southern Baptist??? Cause that would be amazing!
Today I attended the funeral... no, the Homegoing services.... of a dear friend and colleague, Ms. Sadie King. She was the parent liaison at the high school I work at. We have shared an office for the past two years. She has lost her job twice to budget costs..the last time just a few weeks ago. And rarely did I hear her say a negative word. She worked incessantly to help students and their parents. She ran a group called, "Dreams do still come true" - a group to help student mothers stay in school. She was classy, intuitive, and caring. We often had conversations about how to best reach children and their families and 'what was wrong with the world today.' She took a vested interest in my life and always expressed genuine concern and love for me. As was mentioned this afternoon... she was an angel standing near.
The Homegoing was like nothing I have ever experienced in my entire life. There were at least a thousand people there. Most of them African-American. It was by far the loudest service I have ever been to. There was praising and hallelujahing and clapping and yeah-ing and general giving glory. It was reverent.... not in the way we Mormons tend to think of as reverent. There were few people with their arms folded and heads bowed and mouths shut. Quite the contrary, actually. Hands and faces were raised toward heaven, mouths sang the praises of the Almighty and His Saving Son, hands clapped in rejoicing and as a witness that God lives and that He loves us. I was surrounded by people who wanted to do no more than revere their Lord. That's what I mean when I say I saw more reverence in that two hours than I often see in months of services in my own church. It was beautiful...and a moment to learn.
In the eulogy, the pastor talked about how Ms. Sadie saw the Mission not just the missionary. She was an active member of her church who participated in several outreach ministries and the choir. He was describing her exuberant and convincing personality and reminded us that Ms. Sadie was never afraid to live her faith. He described how sometimes we think we are 'Secret Agents of Christ' and that we need to live quietly and discreetly so that no one knows. Of course that's not how it works at all... and Ms. Sadie exemplified that! She praised God all the time and in every action she did. She was an 'Out loud' agent of our Savior!! May I live to rise her example and help others see the Mission rather than just the missionary.
I'll miss you Ms. Sadie...the office just isn't the same without you. But I know that as a valiant disciple of Christ, you have entered into His rest. I'm sorry I didn't tell you more about what I know to be true. I hope you'll forgive me one day. I'll try to be a better 'out loud' servant of my King. Because of your life and example, I have been changed for good. (I can hear you now... saying, "Isn't that the truth?") Thanks for being such a great example. Thanks for being so wonderful. Thanks for showing me grace and dignity and perseverance. May the Lord bless and keep you...