Sunday, December 8, 2013

Knowing My Brother Now in a Different Way

My sweet brother Gary, now with Jesus.

This past week, on Monday, December 2, my brother Gary went to be with Jesus. Though we grieve his absence here, we rejoice that he is now experiencing the pleasures of God in a much more profound way. Here are the remembrances I gave at his memorial service on Friday.

I want to share with you about how I know my brother Gary. I was born on his fourth birthday — he got no cake that year. We are exactly four years apart, and I have always felt a special connection with him from that. But I did not realize how strong that was for me until this last birthday, just a couple of weeks ago, when Gary was in that hospital bed, in a coma — and it was so very precious to me that we got to be together on that birthday.

How I know my brother Gary. Growing up, Gary and I shared a bedroom. He was my first roommate, and I was his. We got along together pretty well when we were little, and he was my first playmate. As we grew older, the four years between us began to show, as his interests became different from mine. I became the pesky little brother, and I remember Gary chasing me out of our room many times — especially when he had his friends over (he was a popular guy).

How I know my brother Gary. I know him in his music. I was there when it began, when he first learned to play and sing and write songs (he came a long way). I learned to sing and play, too, in large part because of him. We never really played together, though, our styles were so different, but I heard him and he heard me, and we sang on each other’s CDs.

How I know my brother Gary. In know him in his faith, with its many ups and downs, and the difficult years when he was trying to find his way, and my heart broke for him because he was so unhappy. And I know him in his faith when he began to find peace and healing. And then Gary found Jan. His years with her were the happiest, and his music — and his faith — blossomed in new directions. I know him in the happiness of his last years, which were the very best.

How I know my brother Gary. Now I will know him in a new way. Through his son, Emile. Through his wife, Jan. Through our father and mother. Through our brothers, Greg and Jon. Through all who know him and love him, and through all whom he knows and loves — for he knows and loves us still. And we will know him through each other.

But even more than that, I will know him when I worship and when I pray. For he is now with Jesus. I will know him in my baptism, and at the communion table, the Table of the Lord. For we both belong to the body of Christ. So I will know him in our faith, and I look forward to the resurrection, or when I go to God — whichever comes first — when I will know Gary once again face to face.