CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©
I have no regrets about Raydean. If he were conscious at all when the massive stroke felled him yesterday afternoon, I’m sure he was comforted by the rude remark I made to him the day before on Facebook. That’s the kind of relationship Raydean had with most of his friends.
We have kept in touch all these years, even though we’ve lived hundreds of miles apart for the last 20. We always told folks that we were table tennis majors at Garrett Theological Seminary. At lunch time, we would take on James Cone, who became the famous Black theologian, and Malcolm MacArthur, from New Zealand. We lost regularly, but through the years, whenever we were together and a Ping-Pong table was also present, we teamed up and challenged younger people. We usually won, because in earlier years, we had been beaten by the best.
It is said that a person isn’t really dead until the last person who remembers him is also dead. I would expand that a bit, and say that person isn’t dead until the stories about him or her are no longer told. People are going to be telling Raydean stories for a long time.
It’s hard to know just where to start with the stories, though. He was a loving husband and father and grandfather, a stalwart friend, a committed minister of the Gospel. Those things can be said of many of us, but there was something more with Raydean. He was a character.
Raydean Davis was an iconic figure in Illinois Methodism. All you had to do was say “Raydean,” and everyone would nod sagely. We knew that in Raydean we shared something unique. We just didn’t know what it was.
Now he has “been transferred from the church militant to the church triumphant.” When the stories are told of this character, though, he will still be part of “the goodly fellowship of the prophets.”
Yes, I have no regrets about Raydean, but this will be my last post in CIW until about May 15. I need to go find some old friends, to share some stories and make some rude remarks to them, and thus assure them that I love them.
John Robert McFarland
The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.]
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