The oldest member of our congregation passed away last night. Lena turned 97 on March 15. Not only was she the oldest member but she was one of the longest-tenured members having been a charter member of Cross Road Baptist Church at its founding in 1971.
I’ve heard stories about her from family and church friends that tell of her feisty demeanor. But I only knew her as one who loved the Lord, longed to attend the church, and thought the world of her family. The only stern words she ever had for me were, “Why haven’t you come to see me?” after she had been in the hospital for a couple of days before I made the visit. But she said those words with a smile on her face: she was glad to see her pastor.
It’s an honor to be someone’s pastor. I’m told (and I believe it) that you are the preacher when you first come to a church, then a pastor after at least five years, and finally a leader after a few more years. But I think Lena considered me her pastor and I’ve only been at CRBC for three and a half years.
For someone who was 97 and had been a member in one church for 39 years (almost exactly) and had been a Christian for many more years to call me her pastor, well that’s a great honor. I will gladly speak at her funeral and talk about her stubborn ways and her loving attitude and her legacy of family she has left behind her and the impact felt by CRBC.
A disease may have hastened her death but the hope of scripture is that she (and all of us, too) entered the presence of the Lord at the very moment her earthly body died. And in his presence there is no sickness or pain or sorrow or tears or dying. Only life and worship and joy. Forever.