Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Life of Brian

No, not the Monty Python satire (or blasphemy, depending upon your p.o.v.), but rather the life of a friend and former colleague of mine. Brian Richmond was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas a few weeks ago.

(This is a hard post to write. I will probably come back to it and change bits here and there over the next few hours and days, to try to express myself better.) He has been given about 6 months to live (maybe 3, maybe 12 or so). It's not long.

Brian and I used to spend hours every week in GCAS talking about old American music, international politics, and the mission halls that we both grew up in. Brian's was a Woodvale/Shankill urban Belfast childhood - whilst mine was Low Country/rural. He grew up, as we would say, "under the sound of the gospel", but has yet to find salvation.

I think its fair to say that he doesn't believe there is any hope of physical healing, or indeed that there is life beyond this world. I believe in both. Not in a weird, exploitative, "holy roller" Benny Hinn or Kenneth Copeland give-me-your-money-and-I'll-trick-you-into-believing-you've-been-healed nonsense. I believe in a God who is ultimately in control, who is equally just and merciful, who holds our breath in his hand. I believe that God can reach, heal, and save Brian. If Brian is reading this I know he'll understand my sentiment.

I spent a lovely time with Brian, his wife Terry and their 7 year old son Matthew last Friday evening and Saturday morning, at their home outside Moville in Inishowen, Donegal.

I would ask you to remember Brian, Terry and Matthew in prayer. When my time is up, I hope have the grace and calm that Brian has. When Brian finally passes on, be it this year or in 30 years time, I hope he has the Saviour that I have. Christ is my Saviour through nothing special I have done for Him, but through my simple faith in what He has done for me.

You can read Brian's blog here