From the Pastor
Last Saturday I was in Greensboro, North Carolina to preach the message at the funeral of my pastor-friend, Richard Cram. It was a wonderful service of music and memories, as we thanked God for Richard’s life, and his life of faith in Jesus Christ.
Here are excerpts of some of my remarks.
Richard came to work for me at Fellowship Presbyterian Church in Greensboro in the Fall of 2013.
He was preparing to be a CLP (Commissioned Lay Pastor) in the Presbyterian Church, with the goal of serving a small church in the area that couldn’t afford a full-time pastor, but he needed to do a 9 month internship as part of that preparation.
I remember Richard’s interview, as I expected some old curmudgeon, you know, the kind who has one foot in the grave and one foot on a banana peel, -- to come walking in the room.
Instead, here comes this tall, lean guy with a beard, red hair, -- and a pony tail!
And I thought, “Oh great,” I get to work with Willie Nelson!”
An elder and I even discussed his appearance and if a pony tail would fly at Fellowship, and what that would be like visiting with the little old ladies in their homes.
As usual, I was wrong, as Richard served Fellowship with distinction, grace, and professionalism.He served as a liturgist at both our contemporary and traditional services.
He preached a few times when I was away.
He was involved with our SAGES (senior adult) group, and attended meetings of the Worship and Music Committee, Technological Committee, and the Congregational Care Committee, as well as meetings of the Session. On a couple of occasions, he covered Sunday School classes, and also taught Adult Bible Study on Wednesday nights.
Richard demonstrated his true calling and gift through hospital visitations, and home visits to our members and shut-ins. Richard had a real heart for people, -- the lost, the last, and lonely, -- those who are in need of an extra measure of God’s grace.
Richard made a real impact on the congregation, -- and on me. And even though I was supposed to be his supervisor, I feel like I learned so much from him.
I had the honor of preaching at his Installation service at Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church in Yanceyville.
In preparation to be a CLP, Richard also had to write a “Statement of Faith.”
Writing about the nature of Jesus Christ, “His death grants us life, grace, andredemption of our sins. His resurrection provides us hope, joy, and communion with Him.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself!
Richard did not only write a statement of faith, -- but he had a strong faith.
In the last 24-48 hours of his life, he shared quietly with Judy [his wife] that he had what he called an “Assurance.”
It was almost as if he was echoing 2,000 years later those words of the Apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
It also brings to mind for me those beautiful words from that great old hymn of the church.
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long.”
Quote of the Week
"The flower of youth never appears more beautiful than when it bends toward the sun of righteousness."
Matthew Henry was a Nonconformist minister and author, born in Wales but spending much of his life in England. He is best known for the six-volume biblical commentary Exposition of the Old and New Testaments.