On Sunday I brought a box of stones into the church. I had collected the stones from the Coolwater grounds. I used them as an illustration of the image of living stones in I Peter 2:4-5. You and I are living stones built into the kingdom of God. As living stones, we are sent out into the world to help build the kingdom of God. Along the way we encounter many people. Some of these people may help to shape us, and some we may help shape. It works both ways.
This week I am writing about a living stone that helped to shape me. His name is Bob Clarke. My sister called me last Thursday night to tell me that Bob had passed away at the age of 95. Bob was the Minister of Music and Membership for many years at First Christian Church in Decatur. He was at Decatur when I was 2 and my family moved to Georgia. He was still at Decatur when I went to seminary in my late twenties. He sang at my ordination service, at my wedding, and at my dad’s funeral.
Bob worked with a wide variety of education and membership programs seemingly without number. Bob’s tasks over the years included running many youth programs including youth groups and choir programs for all ages. He took our youth choir on choir tours to many places in the the United States. He drove the old school bus that Decatur used to transport youth groups all over creation. Parents and youth both were sure that Bob’s guardian angel worked overtime when he drove The Great White Bus.
When the world renowned Disciples preacher, Fred Craddock retired to the north Georgia mountains, he began Cherry Log Christian Church. Dr. Craddock asked Bob to lead the music at Cherry Log. Bob filled that role for years. Bob hardly ever really “retired.”
Bob always seemed to have a smile on his face. He lived each day with a spirit of joy and gratitude. He would do all that he could to help another person. He seemed tireless in his efforts to do things for the church and for others as he lived a life following Christ.
In part, I wanted to honor Bob’s life in this reflection. But I also want to make this point. You don’t have to work in the church to shape lives or be a living stone. You don’t have to be just like Bob Clarke to serve Jesus. We are all given unique talents and qualities. Christ seeks to work in all of us if we are open to His leading. And you may have an impact like Bob Clarke did on someone in your life. And someone, somewhere, may be giving thanks for meeting and being blessed by you!
Sr. Interim Pastor