I am dashing off my weekly blog this week. I have a funeral to speak at this morning. My friend Sean passed away this week. Over the years many of my friends have passed away almost all of them younger than me. Each death has hit me but this one especially so.
Sean and I met when we were both at low points in our lives. I was on EI and wondering what the next phase of my life would look like. Sean was having physical and mental difficulties. His anxiety was acute. We began to meet each morning for prayer and Bible study. We both found this a helpful anchor to our days. Eventually I began to feel led back into full-time ministry and the idea of raising support for such a venture began to formulate. I shared this with Sean. I told him I was thinking about starting a “Street Hope” ministry in Saint John. There were then 3 other Street Hopes in Canada. He perked right up and said “My heart jumped when you said Street Hope! That is it!” With this confirmation we ventured ahead. Soon the things we needed to support a humble mission came together. Sean was there at the beginning.
He loved our Bible studies. He said that I had a way of explaining things so that he could understand. If he didn’t understand he was quick to ask. We had many lively discussions around questions I would never have considered otherwise. He taught me much about evangelism.
In those early days he often had panic attacks and would have to get up quickly and leave. He liked that this never bothered me. He always took the chair closest to the door so he could make his speedy get-away. This became known as Sean’s chair. If someone sat in it the group would let them know we were saving that seat for Sean. Over time and with much prayer Sean’s anxieties eased to a level where he could sit through our times. These were his good times when he prayed and boy he loved to pray. He always prayed for his daughter and he loved to pray for the sick. I believe he had a gift for praying for healing.
Sean, like most of our friends, had his ups and downs but in the highs and lows he loved Jesus with a simplicity that puts most of us to shame. He spoke to Jesus like a friend because He was!
At the service we had to inaugurate Street Hope Sean overcame his anxieties and shared his story with the folks gathered. Most never guessed what a miracle that was but I remember it fondly.
Many will gather this morning to mourn. We keenly feel this loss and yet we do not mourn as those without hope! That word that once made Sean’s heart jump is key for us today as we remember that life doesn’t have to be devoid of sorrow to be full of joy!
He would have loved the idea of a send-off on St. Patrick’s Day! Now he is with the Saviour he loved.