Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Tribute to Larry Roehl

…the world was not worthy of them. Hebrews 11:38

None of us gets to plan our exit from planet Earth but all of us better be prepared, because as one person has said, “Death bats a thousand.” No Christ follower gets to pick how they will glorify Christ through their death (Philippians 1:20), but if I could pick, I would love to go the way PCCer Larry Roehl passed away on Monday at the ripe ol’ age of 91.

This past Sunday, I walked from my office at 8:45am and went through “the routine.” Between my office and the Worship Center, I was greeted by the greeters and greeted by the ushers. After connecting with the Tech Team, on my way to the pew, the last part of my routine was fulfilled: Larry Roehl greeted me.

Greeted puts it mildly! Larry was always dressed to the nines, standing with bulletins in hand, with an infectious smile. He gave me a hug that uniquely conveyed encouragement, affection and gratitude. Time stopped for both of us and in 45 seconds he gave me a report about something in his life. (On Sunday he bragged about his daughter how she was growing spiritually.) Then I would say to him, “I’m going in, Larry.” To which he would chuckle and say something like, “I’ve got you covered." Little did I know that “I’ve got you covered” would be the last words Larry would convey to me.

Around 24 hours later, Larry crawled up into his recliner, grabbed his Bible and DMV Handbook (he wanted to brush up for his drivers test on his 92nd birthday) and drifted off to sleep. What a way to go! One of his last earthly visions was of the written word and when he closed his eyes, his next vision was of the Word Incarnate!

I told you last week through this iteration that the strength of PCC lies not in our pastors but in our people! I had been struck by how God is using our volunteers or “unpaid staff,” ordinary men and women who are making themselves available for God to use them in extra-ordinary ways. Larry modeled that through his consistency and character.

This Sunday, at 8:45am, I will again trek from my office to the Worship Center and walk through “the routine.” But there will be a deep void from the lack of the last component of “the routine.” For the first time for almost every Sunday since my heeding the call to be the Lead Pastor, Larry won’t be at his post.

I’m jealous of your reality, Larry. I’m not sure I ever fully conveyed, even with all our hugs and conversations, how much I admired your life and appreciated your commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ. You lived well – Christ was vivid through you and you finished well. You will be dearly missed. I look forward to reuniting in eternity.

We continue in our series this week on the book of Habakkuk. Your response last week to our PCC Wailing Wall was overwhelming. Look for the book in your Bible’s table of contents (near the end of the Old Testament), read chapter 2 and come Sunday hungry to grow.
I Loved Being Larry’s Pastor!