In Memoriam: my brother Joseph
When I met my brother, his dignity was beyond description. I thought him maybe in his early seventies, as he stood tall, as he sang hymns with incredible intensity, as his eyes twinkled as he listened intently to the gospel being read, and as I proclaimed God word. His humility was visible as he would bend his knees at the communion rail, as he said strongly “Amen”, with a voice that communicated incredible gratitude, not to me, but to the Lord who invited Him to the feast.
As he would leave church, the words of blessing would flow from his mouth,”Pastor, my pastor, you’ve given me something to think about this day, you opened my eyes to God’s love again… even deeper. Thank you!” The words were so powerfully said, only once did I ask him what point he was referring to – to which he explained it quickly. Hard to believe, for he himself was a pastor 25 years before I met him, now as he approached 90, he was intrigued and in awe of God’s promises and love and mercy as he would have been the first time he heard those passages as a youth….
To hear him talk to me of his walk with God, of his assurance and confidence in God’s presence in life, as a 14 year old teacher, as the head of a police force in Guyana, as a pastor, and mentor to his children and grandchildren, it was not his own faith that showed through, but the faithfulness of God which he was so confident, so in awe of, so inspired by. Yet he would not serve as a mentor, but as a constant encouragement, someone who would come alongside and lift burdens without even discussing them.
There are men that bring great comfort to others by their presence, whose walk with God is apparent, not because they are great – but instead because they are dependent on God. That dependence encourages our dependence on God, our finding His strength in the point where we are beyond our own strength.
I will miss the lessons my friend, my brother, the one who called me “my pastor” shared with me, but the life that learned those lessons, its impact will be felt by generations.
May as he imitated those who went before, who imitated those going back to Paul, who imitated Jesus, be imitated by those who witnessed his confidence in Jesus.