I first wrote this tribute in January 2016. My pastor had just lost his beloved mother in a tragic car accident. The episode rocked our whole church. Just three days after the accident, the congregation went to church as usual and were all surprised to find Pastor Parks had returned to his flock. I'm so thankful for our pastor!
My tribute to Jesus and Pastor Roger D Parks (Jan. 3, 2016)
"And having done all, to stand."
As I opened the door to the sanctuary, I heard the strains of beautiful piano music. It sounded like Carol's playing, but I thought it couldn't be her. But it was! And I wanted to rush across the church to her and hug her. And let her know how very much I love her and her whole family.
But I stayed put. I knew everyone in church probably felt like I did. And then I saw Erik and my heart leaped within me. Could Pastor Parks possibly be here, too?
And then the side door opened, and in you came with that beautiful smile of yours. (That I think you might have gotten from your mother) And an aura of grace came in with you. It was all over you.
And in that moment, I've never been prouder to be one of your flock.
I know why you came today. We're your flock and you were doing what every good shepherd of the flock does. You were stilling us with your presence, reminding us by example that though the earth be removed and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, our God is a very present help and we will not fear...or fall apart. That every thing you have preached to us is true. And you are the living example of those truths.
Your countenance was full of joy. The joy that can only come from Jesus. I somewhat know just a little bit of what you were feeling and experiencing. Having been a teacher for over thirty years, I've been through the trials and heartaches that life sometimes throws our way, and I've tried to use each one of those episodes in my life to point my students to the all-powerful, all-gracious and loving heavenly father. I know what it feels like to stand before young people with my heart raw and bleeding but my spirit full of His joy and peace. The peace that passeth all understanding.
You did that for all of us today. You gathered your flock together and showed us how to handle gut-wrenching tragedy with the grace and peace only God can give.
And you carried on. "And having done all, to stand." You stood tall today. And you pointed us all back to Christ. You lifted Christ up to the place of pre-eminence.
I know you won't like reading my gushing words of love and praise, but I can't help it. It's the only tangible way I know to let you know how very much you and your entire family mean to me...to us. And it's okay. God says to let another man praise you....So let me say what I know is echoed by every member of your flock.
I love you. I'm proud of you. I'm grateful to be a part of your ministry. You're the real deal. You are obedient to God, and a real tribute to your father and to your mother who raised you to listen for His voice.
I know Jesus is carrying you right now. And I know you will be all right. We will be all right, too. Because we have a savior who loves us. Who died and took that sting of death away from us.
Thank you for your faithfulness to proclaim this great savior. I'm praying many souls will come to Christ through this tragedy and also from your clear presentation of the gospel over the next few weeks.
God's truth endures to all generations. You are God's man for this time. This place.
Well done, Roger D Parks.
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