Monday, February 9, 2009 I attended the memorial service for a friend, my Pastor of old Dan Cummings. In my previous article I talked about friendships, deep, meaningful friendships that are more about pursuing Christ together & struggling together rather than anything else. Dan Cummings was this type of friend, mentor, shepherd. Dan ran the good race. He may have grown weary toward the end, but he always ran hard. Dan was in fact a marathon runner. Not only did he run them, but he ran them well! His pace was incredible for someone who did not find a passion for running until later in life. While he ran he dreamed of chasing Kenyans on Boston’s world renown course. Let’s just say his pace was much closer to those Kenyans than mine is or ever will be!
As the bagpipes played in his honor I couldn’t help but think that it really was a saint we were laying to rest. I felt that a service full of richness & glorifying commentaries would be appropriate for this man who lived his life to the glory of God. But instead of it being about Dan, to his request I’m sure, it was about his Savior Jesus Christ. The name of Jesus was proclaimed again & again & again. It reminded me of times when Dan would sit on the steps of the stage at Grace Community between 22 & 12 years ago as he would plead with us, tears rolling down his face, to not miss Jesus, to not miss the Savior dwelling among us “right here on these steps…”
Dan was diagnosed with cancer 10 months ago. Recently he asked a dear friend & mentor to help him “die well”. When this friend & mentor spoke at Dan’s funeral he spoke of the life & love Dan had for preaching the full Gospel. Yes, the FULL Gospel. Not just what Jesus said in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John nor in just the teachings of Paul or the rest of the New Testament. But the whole narrative from Genesis to Revelation. Dan loved so much the full Word of God. He lived & breathed it.
When Dan’s casket passed by us in the back of the auditorium I had the sense that greatness had left us. He had. I believe I now understand a little clearer what it is to be a shepherd, a pastor, a father, a husband, a friend and last but not least, a child of God. Dan not only lived, but he lived well. He is now a part of that “great cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us. When the bagpiper played Amazing Grace I wept. When we sang Holy Holy Holy, I trembled in His presence. But I have never thought & imagined so clearly the joy of the one leaving us as he faces his eternal companion, his Savior Jesus Christ, finally. After many years of pointing others to Him he is now there. What a reward! What a complete joy to be in the presence of the Master!
Dan was a great man of God & will always be remembered for many things by many people. But my wife Kristi & I will forever remember him for telling us on our wedding day to “Remember Christ! Remember Christ! Remember Christ! When you raise your children, when you live, laugh & cry together and when people enter your home and watch how you live, it is Jesus they will see. Remember Christ. Remember Christ. Remember Christ.”
Dan, thank you for your faithful service, friendship, leadership & unwavering fight for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You will be missed greatly. Soli Deo Gloria!