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The following words were given by my son, the Rev. Jimmy Allen, and the pastor of Heritage Baptist Church of Wake Forest, at the funeral for Ian Frazier Lewis on Sunday, April 28, at Binkley Chapel on the Southeastern campus:
“This is a difficult day. It’s the day we gather to remember the life of Ian Frazier Lewis, a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin, a classmate, a teammate, a Boy Scout, a friend; someone whose life ended way too soon.
“This is also a good day. It’s the day we gather to worship, to celebrate the many ways Ian touched us all, and to accept afresh the love we’re offered.
“Let us begin with words of Scripture:
“‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.’ (Psalm 46:1).
“‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.’ (Matthew 5:4).
“‘Jesus said: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.’ (John 14:1).
“‘Peace I leave with you,’ Jesus said. ‘My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.’ (John 14:27).
“‘Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.’ (1 John 4:7).
“And these words from Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi: ‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:4-7).
“Please join me in prayer: Lord, we thank you for the love you offer us. May we accept afresh that truth today. And may we be open to your holy presence. Through Christ we pray. Amen.
“John 11:1-6, 32-36. The word of life. Thanks be to God.
“Our society often frowns upon crying. When a child falls and skins his or her knee, an adult will often use the phrase that has been passed down for generations.
“‘Be a big boy, don’t cry.’
“‘Be a big girl, don’t cry.’
“This philosophy is captured with humor in actor Tom Hanks’ classic line in the movie, ‘A League of Their Own’: ‘There’s no crying in baseball!’
“But in the passage we read, we get another perspective on crying.
“Jesus, the Son of God — Jesus, the one with inner strength and peace — showed emotion. A short verse of Scripture carries with it a long and powerful message. ‘Jesus began to weep.’
“The ultimate role model showed us it’s OK to express emotion, that it’s healthy to enter into the journey of grief.
“Why did Jesus cry? As we learn in the fifth verse, Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus. And Lazarus had just died.
“Maybe Jesus would miss Lazarus’ sense of humor,
“… Or the funny way he tied his sandals,
“… Or the way he helped his siblings.
“We, of course, don’t know because we don’t learn many details about Lazarus’ life.
“We do know that Jesus loved him.
“And Jesus experienced the pain of a loved one’s death. His response was to cry. Jesus wept.
“We can mourn, too. That, of course, is exactly what Ian’s family and a whole community are doing.
“Just as a hole was left in the hearts of Mary, Martha and Jesus, the same is true for us. Earlier, I said this is a difficult day. The truth, of course, is that it has been a difficult nine days, starting when each of us received word about Ian and his friend, Paige Merical. No one, though, has experienced this pain more than the parents and siblings. As is true for Paige, this world will miss much about Ian.”
(Continued next week for more)
Bob Allen, publisher emeritus of The Wake Weekly, invites comments at 919-556-3059 or email@example.com