Remembering a Friend of God

November 29, 2010

Pine cone and BibleToday I wondered how the early Christians reacted to the news of Paul’s passing. How about those closest to him—the ones who were his partners in the gospel? Did the Philippians remember Paul’s letter to them—how he desired to "depart and be with Christ" (Philippians 1:23, ESV)—and then celebrate the fact he finally was granted his wish? Did Timothy smile and think about the "crown of righteousness" his mentor received because he "fought the good fight…finished the race…kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7-8)?

No, I suspect that their initial reaction to hearing that Paul had finally paid the ultimate price for preaching the gospel in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2) was the same as mine this morning at the news that Graham Maxwell had passed away overnight. Paul’s death was not unexpected; he specifically told Timothy he did not have long—that the "time of [his] departure [had] come" (2 Timothy 4:6). Neither was Graham’s a surprise—his family saw how he was losing the battle with age and were by his side during his final moments.

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Jesus Wept

(This article is based on the sermon given at the memorial service for Rebekah Warren–who passed away instantly from injuries due to an automobile accident early in the morning on Saturday, May 8, 2010. Today, November, 16, 2010, would have been her 17th birthday.)


Although the sudden, tragic death of a child can lead to many different emotions, I suspect for most of us the unexpected passing of Bekah, once the initial shock wore off, left us with a tremendous sense of loss. How could the grandchild, the friend, the sister, the classmate, the daughter, the fellow believer, be gone?!

They must be wrong! It’s a cruel joke!

But it wasn’t. It was real.

Then the tears. Lots and lots of tears. Tears that never seemed to stop. Tears that flow again so easily at a memory.

At an empty seat in class.

At a team short a dancer.

At a "goodnight" short a hug.

At a room that no longer has the girl with the magnetic smile in it.

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Jesus Wept

Bekah Warren with friends


Although I knew Bekah had touched so many people the Great Brook gym would be full, I am still awed by the love that is so obvious in such a large crowd–as I am sure her family is too.

I am also glad to see that so many of you are starting to develop Bekah’s fashion sense–although I fear that most of you are doomed, like me, to never be able to quite pull it off like she did.

At least we can remember her by making a genuine attempt to “dress like Bekah”…and by appreciating the few who actually succeed. ☺


Linda’s Wish

After I had chosen the topic for my talk, Bekah’s mother, Linda, asked me to share one thing with all of you. I am going to do so in a bit of a round-about way.

In times like these there are many natural reactions–shock, depression, anger, heartbreak–the list could go on–and none are right or wrong; they just “are.” We all grieve in our own ways, often by going from one extreme emotion to another.

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Larry’s Wish

Larry at a Red Sox game

Up to Now

We are now coming close to our celebration of the life of Larry Warren–and whether we have recognized it or not, every part of this service has been a gift from Larry to us.

The songs have been some of Larry’s favorites.

The scriptures have reflected Larry’s faith.

The poems have described the impact he has had on all of us.

The voices we have heard have been of his children, his father, and his friends.

All brought together by the love of one man–rather, the love from one man…

Lawrence Thomas Warren

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