1953 – 2015
Yesterday I learned that Pastor Ray passed from this life into eternity. I served in the same community as he did for four years and interacted with him on a several occasions. I am grateful for his service to his family, the Crisp County community, and to the great family of faith at Penia Baptist Church.
I have to say that I am alway surprised when death comes knocking. I have never met anyone who is prepared for the death of a loved one. The shock can be so disorienting because a void is made that cannot be filled by any one else.
I do not have enough personal stories to share, however, what I knew about him is enough to know that he was an under-shepherd worthy of honoring. In this time of mourning I am thinking and praying for two groups: the family and the church.
I pray for the family. As a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and all the other titles he wore, there are a number of people whose hearts are heavy. The depth of pain and sorrow is in direct proportion to their love. There is not quick way out of the mourning. I pray the blessed memories that they share may be a source of comfort for them. There is no amount of time that will assuage the heavy feeling that sits on their hearts. My prayer is that their love leads them in and through this time.
I pray for Penia Baptist. Brother Ray served as the shepherd to this congregation. He stood before them and declared the mysteries of God on a weekly basis. His ministry served as a voice of hope in a world filled with so many voices shouting anything but. He loved his people and from what I have seen they loved him. This is what how it should be. The relationship between a pastor and the congregation they serve is not something easily described, it is something that can only be understood in the daily experience of living out faith together.
For all those affected this will be a difficult time. My hope is this, our great God is with them all. He loves them all and is there with them, walking through it with them as well.