I was blessed to head to Kansas City Sunday afternoon and yesterday. I had really needed a short personal vacation for quite a while... a sabbatical if you will. Of course, rather than a quiet reflective sabbatical, I was lucky enough to get tickets to a really loud rock and roll concert! Thankfully, God chooses times in his own plan to remind us of his goodness, his kingdom, and his plan.
During lunch yesterday, while getting geared up to drive home, I received news that a very dear man of God and a friend in my life passed away late last week. Ed Baker was a very special man to myself, my family, and my friend whom I ministered with while I served at Grace Community Church in Overbrook, KS. Let me describe Ed real quickly.
Ed, who was pushing 80 while I was in Overbrook, was a very quiet man. A World War II vet, you could tell he had a wealth of wisdom, stories, and information packaged underneath, but he was thoughtful and quiet. He was never the first to speak. Ed was also always an encourager... and edifier (edify means to build up... yes, his name was Ed... he was an edifier... it’s a play on words)! He was also an amazing husband who cared for his wife even during her final days of illness. They were definitely the picture perfect, hallmark card senior couple.
Ed was everyone’s friend. He didn’t play favorites or the political games that sometimes occur in Christendom. Unfortunately sometimes, people in church institutions posture themselves for power or influence... Ed on the other hand was comfortable being himself and knew his role in the church. He was an amazing source of peace to us. Even in those days when ministry was hard and fraying, Ed’s only conspiracy and motive was to encourage and love.
When I think of “multi-generational” or “cross-generational” ministry in church, I think of Ed. He cared about everyone regardless of age or class in the church. It was an honor to know this man for even such a short time.
Obviously, I cried a bit on my enchilada yesterday. Ed deserved a few tears. Sometimes people pull at your heart like that. I will miss Ed and my memories of him. I thought of this verse in Timothy, which is usually spoken to people of youth... but I find it very applicable to people of all ages: “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” - 1 Timothy 4:12
Sometimes it’s easy for young people, such as myself and younger, to look down on those older than us. We have a false idea that we know better, or we’re more in touch. What a horrible way of looking at those who have experienced so much more than I. Ed was an example of uplifting speech, life, love, faith, and purity... I will constantly be thinking about how he treated and cared for his wife, how he related to and spoke to his brothers and sisters. Ed you will be missed.