Sunday, November 28, 2010

I buried my youngest brother today.

Gara ndichawuya – wait I am coming – was a name Bob had earned from the leaders with whom he served in Zimbabwe. I told Zebedee that Dad and Mom often said of Bob as he grew that he would be late to his own funeral. The gathered found the fact that the hearse was 20 minutes late both humorous and fitting.

Makusha was there with Jimmy and Joyce his children – Bob had filled in for Mabona to preach Makusha’s wife’s funeral – Mrs Bungu says she thinks back now and believes it was his goodbye.

Mabona said Sekuru died in America and was buried in America. John Mark died in America and was buried in America. Bob died in Zimbabwe and it appropriate that he be buried in America. He also said that Sekuru never said follow me but follow Jesus – and he called on the churches to stop being divisive over who owns what and begin to be generous in supplying the needs of the church. He was very passionate about this and told the crowd that the Zimbabwe churches were lame – it was rather funny hearing that word from his mouth – for not financing their ministries. He said the people in America are not all rich and yet they send missionaries to Zimbabwe.

Bob’s love of children came up many times and Stephy presented her challenge to fathers similar to the one she gave at Grayson.
Tessa led some songs and had the women dancing and the three of them sang Mark’s special “Oh how He loves.”
The filing past the open casket was well done and though the partial embalming did not permit a repeat at Mashoko the people was so pleased with the decision to bury this son of the founding missionaries on the first mission station that it was not a problem.

Zebedee James spoke from James 4:13-17 – very approproiate.
13Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

He concluded with Psalms 139:14-16 – we likely disagree on specific points of theology (Pam will understand) but the message was clear non-the-less – God made Bob for a purpose and Bob did it. We need to as well.
14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Fearfully and wonderfully made.

Spike (the Jack Russell terrier met us at Tshovani which was a mystery as it is a good two miles from the house. Turns out the intern staying in the cottage decided to walk to the church and Spike invited himself along. He was with us for a while and then someone took him home.

The number of people gathered was stunning. Well over a thousand and they had been there since morning worship singing and dancing. We were warmly welcomed by the Department Heads (Dr. Bungu was at the service at Tshovani and Mrs Bungu was at Mashoko) I renewed acquaintance with many friends of childhood. A young man told me he was the brother of the male leader of the dancers at our wedding. He remembers he tried to eat all the sweet cakes.
I met former fellow Boy Scouts, preaching club members and soccer friends.
I brought greetings from Mom for the women and asked them to dance for Mbuya as she would have danced had she been with us. Oh Wow how they danced – for a good 30 minutes.
Chief Mabika (who is presently one our former teachers from Chikomo who used to tutor Bob from time to time – spoke long but well bringing in the theme of the afternoon which could be best stated, “Now we have history on our station.” Zebedee referred to the command of God to the Israelites in Joshua 4:5-7
5and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

The casket did not fit the bricked in crypt prepared while we sang and talked but with some adjustment and muscle Bob’s remains were finally laid to rest. Mark and Stephy remained behind for some personal time and the rest of us made the 2+ hour journey over the rutted road back to Chiredzi. Had this funeral been one Bob had performed he have reached home and hugged his children a little closer and this wife a little more tenderly before going to his favorite chair to pick up his favorite book. May I learn to practice these simple but powerful actions.

In my final remarks I said that Dad taught me to preach, Mabona taught me passion, but, Makusha taught me Patience. Let add here that we need the desire to preach the word in season out of season with passion for the lost but patience as we watch His Spirit move in the hearts of the lost.

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