Last night I found out that one of my dear friends lost his life in a motorcycle accident yesterday. Even as I type this, it’s hard to even think about. Pam and I met Allen and his wife Donna when they started coming to Parkway. Over the years that they attended while we served on staff there, they became really good friends – along with some other really good friends – most of whom we have talked to over the course of the last 24 hours. It has been emotional for me. This is the first time I have lost a close friend who wasn’t a member of the family.
Allen was a big, huggable, teddy bear – a gentle giant. There was always a smile. He lived out his faith and we talked about it…that’s how we became good friends. We liked to talk about worship and church history. He was so good to us, always willing to lend a helping hand. One year for pastor appreciation, he offered to take care of the basic mechanic needs of our vehicle. When he couldn’t take care of it, he would always steer us in the right direction of a capable mechanic.
After we got home last night, I wanted to pretend it was all a dream, that somehow it would go away. I even kept looking at Facebook, but the more I looked at it the more real it became.
When we resigned at Parkway, Allen made himself available to write a letter of recommendation and he and Donna prayed for God to show the way. I am so thankful that I had a chance to get to know him. He was well loved by everyone – looking at his Facebook feed over the last 24 hours made that quite clear.
I was thinking about this. Last night we sang Revelation Song during our worship service in Bradford. It is a wonderful picture story of the worship that is happening in heaven, most of the words are taken straight out of Revelation 4. Little did I know (we found out about the accident after the service) that as we were singing those words, Allen was already worshiping at the throne of God.
As we drove home from Bradford, I thought about the MercyMe song “I Can Only Imagine.” Allen no longer has to wonder what heaven is like. He knows for sure.
Today I dedicated my long run (of ten miles) to the memory of Allen and especially motorcycle awareness. I really encourage you – NO – strongly encourage you to watch out for the people who share the road with you. Whether it be someone who rides a bike, motorcycle, a walker or runner.
At our last service in Waynesboro (Allen was there) I quoted my friends who gathered, “Here, There, or in the Air,” a quote from a Dana Key song from many years ago. Little did I know then that when Allen and Eric (who also helped us move to Eldred) said goodbye and prayed for us that evening, it would be the last time that I would see Allen on this earth.
Today, Allen is part of the cloud of witnesses written in Hebrews 12.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Yesterday Allen finished the race – and now he is part of the cloud of witnesses cheering us on in our life of faith. Let us run with endurance – keeping our eyes on Jesus the one who perfects our faith!!!!
Godspeed Allen – you will be missed. It was my pleasure to get to know you!