Posts tagged ‘1983’

Jun 4 2010

On the Anniversary of John Steven’s Passing

Today is June 4th, the anniversary of the passing of John Robert Stevens. I don’t believe it’s a day of sadness, but a day of honoring.

In observance of his passing, I thought I should share something that Peneila Rand, a member of my church, wrote about his funeral—which occurred a day after her third birthday. Although so young, her memory of that day is very vivid.

The following morning was cold and dreary. I wasn’t sure why everyone was so upset. The day before we were all happy and celebrating my birthday, but today seemed so gloomy. The soft sound of music rolled over low hills of grass. I sat on my dad’s broad shoulders as we followed the solemn throng of people, eyes soaked with tears. The vans were parked in a horseshoe around the cemetery. A pine crate, containing John’s beautiful coffin, sat on the ground in front of the grave adorned with an enormous bouquet of Fall flowers. Many people came to sing songs and worship. My dad lifted me off his shoulders and cradled me softly in his arms as Marilyn approached the microphone to say a few comforting words.

“Thank you all for coming. I couldn’t have faced this alone. There will come a day when He will wipe every tear from our eyes [Isaiah 25:8]. So take a Kleenex and dry your eyes and throw them into the grave.” I remember burying my face in my dad’s chest wondering why everyone was throwing trash in John’s grave! Not having a Kleenex to throw in myself, I dug a gum wrapper out of DeDe’s purse. Clutching the wrapper in one hand and my dad’s finger in the other, I bravely walked up to the edge of the deep hole. Damp Kleenexes covered the bottom like a delicate blanket. My pudgy hand let go and the green wrapper fell into the grave.

For many years I wouldn’t mention this day. I distinctly remember it, but I had told myself it was a dream.

What Marilyn did at the funeral was an act of faith in God. One of the best ways to honor someone is to continue what they began in life, and John was a man who lived a life of faith in the scriptural promises of God.

One of John’s greatest legacies is the volume of messages and teachings that he produced during his lifetime. He was prolific in both quantity and quality. My experience is that John’s ministry continues today; he ministers through the Word of God that he spoke and wrote. In this way, what God did—and does—through John Robert Stevens cannot be contained by death.