I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since yesterday’s Catch and I believe I have a few wrongs to right. I’m not quite sure what got into me yesterday; it certainly wasn’t what I truly know or believe. First, I’m not as pathetic as I sounded. You don’t want the white-haired guy I pictured with the robe — the Reverend Doctor — speaking at Arnold’s memorial service; you want me. I’m the guy, and I’m the right guy. I know this probably more than anything I know right now. I’ve been in hundreds of situations like this before, enough to know what happens when the Holy Spirit kicks in with my gift. I know this so well, that no matter how well I prepare, I can’t wait to hear what I’m going to say.
Secondly, Christians are no different of an audience facing death than non-Christians. That’s because we’re all human, and I don’t care how much hope and faith you have, at the threshold of the reality, you’re not going to sail on through, or sail on by, without a doubt or a single “What if I’m wrong?” running through your mind. No one we know has been there. No one we know (except Jesus) has been back to tell us about it. Indeed, that exception is huge, and why we cling to Him, but we’re still all human. We aren’t spiritual automatons. We all need to be comforted. God knows this; He remembers that we are dust. That’s why He said, “Fear not,” so often, and “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.”
And finally, up until now, I’ve been content to know the new Arnold — the Arnold with faith in God. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here” (2 Corinthians 5:17). I like the new Arnold; I’m friends with the new Arnold. I might not have known the old Arnold had I had the opportunity. He might not have wanted to know me. But it’s still Arnold, and I suddenly want to hear all the stories and appreciate all the friends, even the enemies. These are the people who will be attending the memorial service, and they know little or nothing about the Arnold I know. If I’m going to speak knowledgeably about him, I owe it to them to know about that guy too. That guy is also Arnold. The whole being, as is true for all of us, is loved by God.