“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?…” I Corinthians 15:55
What is your answer?
Monday, January 22, 2018: it was one of those moments when the heart breaks, the mind can think no words, there are no thoughts, just stunned silence. One of the really good men died, unexpectedly. John Carsten, the Carpet Cleaner who cared departed this life. I was fortunate to have known him a little. I wish I had known him more.
John was an unassuming man whose very presence left an impact. He was a commanding presence without dominating or demanding center of attention. He was the epitome of the “servant-leader”. He was the quintessential example of love, because everyone who knew John knew that he loved and cared about them.
I met John through BNI when I joined the Everett Northend Networkers. He was the first to greet me, the first to hug me, his being there I felt safer. I don’t like being in big groups and there were nearly 40 people in the room, chatting and laughing, like old friends. John made me feel welcomed.
I’m a people watcher and I watched John. He was King of the Visitor Hosts. He could have taught classes on how to be the Visitor Host. I also listened to John when he talked. I got to talk with John as well. There was never any doubt where John’s faith rested. John was in love with his Savior, his wife, his kids. He loved his customers, his business associates, his country. He had no qualms talking about any or all of the above, given the right circumstance.
On Thursday at BNI past and present members shared their thoughts, experiences, and the deep deep hole he left behind in our hearts. Lots of tears for our loss, lots of cheers in heaven that another child of God is home.
I know what John’s answer to “O grave where is thy victory?… But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:57
I’ve learned not to ask “why”. It doesn’t do any good but it does cause a lot of pain. We aren’t privy to God’s thoughts, plans, or purposes in full. Today we see through a glass darkly, but someday face to face. John is home with the Master Carpet Weaver, we are left to see only the underside of the carpet: the broken lines, knots, shortened threads. Someday, by the grace and love of God, the Father, Jesus Christ His Son and the work of the Holy Spirit, we like John will get to look at the upper-side and it will all make sense.
And John will be there at the gates, ready to greet us once again.
Lord, have mercy on the soul of your servant John, “for You are the Resurrection, the Life and the Repose of Your departed servants, O Christ our God, and unto You we ascribe glory, together with Your Father who is from everlasting and Your all holy and good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.” (taken from an ancient Christian funeral prayer)
Lord have mercy on John’s family and all those who loved him and grant us peace and comfort as we mourn our loss.
FYI: St. Paul, A.D. 5 – A.D. 67 was the author of the letter written to the Corinthians. One of the more famous of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, he was first a persecutor of Christians. He converted and later became a leading evangelist and teacher in the Christian faith. He died a martyr’s death probably during the time of Nero.