MY BROTHER DIED

On November 22, 2022, my next younger brother, Bob, died at 71. I cried. 

We grew up together two years apart in school.

We shared many sports activities together. We clammed together. We worked together farming and mowing lawns as kids.

He taught me how to find my ancestors and create a family tree going back seven generations.

He was a more avid Yankees fan than me. 

He was quieter than me, read more books than me, and remembered more movies.

Separated by almost 2000 miles we talked by phone nearly every day for the last year having grown closer through ancestry searches. We were less close before. These past ten years changed that.

We studied the Bible together when I lived closer to him.

Bob was kind, easygoing, and reluctant at displays of affection. I was grateful for the times he could say, ‘I love you.’

He was an expert chess player. I never learned. 

My brother died 59 years after the assassination of JFK. We won’t forget that date or this one.

I watched him draw his last breath and I trust Jesus that Bob is in one of those dwelling places that our Lord was preparing for him. 

It wasn’t easy to believe at that moment having watched 71 years of earthly life with its joys and sorrows ebb from him. All the memories, love, successes, and failures are gone. Perhaps.

I don’t really know. I trust Paul’s words that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord but I’m not exactly sure how, since this life is what I mostly know. Is my brother with my mom and dad? Does he know them? Maybe faith is found in the many questions and less in the answers so quickly given. 

It’s Advent now, a time of hope and waiting. I wait with tears sometimes, and laughter other times.  I look at memorable photographs and think of times when life was simpler and seemingly more joyful. Age brings troubles of many kinds. “Bound to come some trouble in your life,” is how Rich Mullins put it. Seems that thoughtful Christians know how best to grieve best. Love will do that.

Could more have been done for Bob? Or me or you? God knows. This life is fragile at best, its strength coming from God’s grace and earthly relationships. I am richer for the one I have had with him.

Someone told me that my brother would want me to be happy now. Maybe.

Bob never complained about his illness or any other troubles. Maybe he wanted to but I prefer to think that he carried the burdens well. I think he had help.

I think in some mysterious way Bob surrendered his life to bring a more meaningful life and love to those closest to him. That’s Christ’s way and Bob walked in that way silently and sometimes stoically. We all find our way. 

I will remember my brother and learn from him about living and dying. Joys and sorrows. Faults and forgiveness and then one day we won’t have to search for our ancestors. We will see them.

I hope. Cause I miss my ancestry partner. I miss my brother.

SADNESS FOR HAITI ….AND AMERICA

I have been involved with Haiti for over 35 years and have become good friends with many people there, most of them brothers and sisters in Christ. Others and myself have witnessed love, faith, great works and ministry in the country and through the churches there. And now once more we have seen devastation, not from an earthquake but at our border.

Today a very good friend wrote me and I will let his words speak for themselves. There is nothing I can add that would do justice to the words that come from the heart, and the pain of this man I love like a brother. He is broken and his people are broken.

“My brother,

I gat tear when I saw what  happen to the Haitian people, I was really disappointed 

That situation remind me slavery period

Haitian are very angry, I know two Haitians who destroy their passport with American visas.

we all know ,Haitians helped America to fight  in order  to get his freedom , so we are part of America.

it’s inhuman when you hear testimony from people they send back to Haiti. 

We know that, American people are not happy with what’s happening at the border.

But , why Haitians ? 

Haitians love Haiti, they run away from Haiti because of kidnaping , killing, insecurity , violence and misery , we are not safe. ( nobody)

Haiti is one hour from America,  why America does not come to help with the gangs , insecurity and so one .

Today , I hear   Daniel Foot the  special ambassador for Haiti is resigned  because of what’ happening at the border and Haiti,

Past George, when you hear and see what is Happening in Haiti right  now is two different things. Haiti looks like hell, no body wants to stay.

Last week only at least 4 ships leave La Gonave Island.

George, 50 American  soldiers are good enough to help us with the gangs , we are at 1hre 30 minutes  from America.

Let ‘ us pray for Haiti.

God bless.”

The question for us is ‘What can and will we do?’ That is the question asked by our Lord, I believe.

I will write more but for today, let us pray for Haiti and ask wisdom for the leaders of our nation and world.

george

Parkland, Florida. Wednesday February 14, 2018

Remember how Jesus took the little children into his arms and blessed them? I believe that the same eternal Jesus is holding these children whose lives were shattered by gunfire on Wednesday. The question is not as some Christians phrase it, ‘Did they know Jesus?’ The question is ‘Does Jesus know them?’ The resounding answer from the heart of God is ‘Yes’.

And as much as these children are loved by their families, Jesus loves them even more. While God allows more freedom and destructive free will than we can understand, we can know that from the horror and sorrow of Jesus’ own death, he gently and often quietly moves into our horrors and sorrows. And as the one who took in himself our infirmities and sorrows he bears the pain with these children and their families as well as their friends.

And recall how Mary, the mother of God, ached at the death of her own child. Yes, the myriads of heaven’s angels, saints and the Holy Trinity through their prayers and presence are with those now whose grief is unbearable.

The Good Shepherd has found his sheep and none are lost. Because he lives, they too live.

But for now there are mournful tears in heaven.

 

 

Christ at the Center

Bonhoeffer has a book by this title and I tag along to him by saying that everything in this creation has come through Christ. Christ is the victim and the victor and he calls us to be his followers. Those folks in South Carolina, centered in Christ, have found the ability to grieve and grief deeply while they witness to God’s love in Christ through forgiveness. Few of us can understand their grief but those of us who do know it realize it that there is anger and sadness in the midst of anything else we are feeling. We are not naive but at the same time we are not unfaithful. We know the weakness of God in Christ and we know the defeat of death through Christ. Those families and faithful ones in Christ through their forgiveness and their celebration of life know weakness and strength.
The church is to experience both. We are to live with Christ and we are to die with Christ knowing all the while that we are in Christ and Christ in us and not even Satan and all his legions can stop God’s children from marching forward.
I pray that the light of AME Zion churches and those who stand with them will know that God’s grace is always sufficient as well as ultimately victorious.
P.S. Hopefully through it all our nation and we as individual believers will be sufficiently humble to hear God.