Wednesday, August 29, 2007


My friend Brian is going to die in the next few hours.

I got a call this morning to go to Letterkenny General Hospital to see him. 3 hours drive there and the same back again. When I got there he was hardly conscious, only able to acknowledge visitors with the occasional flicker of the eyelids. He will leave a wife and seven year old son. It's very, very sad.

To the best of my knowledge (ie up until a few weeks ago), Brian rejected any form of personal faith, let alone a saving faith in Christ alone. However his wife Terri told me this afternoon that for the last few days he had been trying to talk to her, through his sedation, about "God" and "Heaven". He was brought up in the red brick streets and mission halls of Woodvale in Belfast. We can just hope and pray - I'm asking you to do so.

He has requested that I say a few words at his funeral. It'll be tough going, especially as I have no sense of certainty about his spiritual condition. I've often felt critical of graveside eulogies, but now it's on my shoulders I feel a bit different.

Brian always wanted to make a film about the mission halls. He wanted to put a single camera on a fixed tripod and film the individual members singing their favourite hymn or chorus. We often talked about the wee choruses we both grew up on. Here's one that seems very apt:

"...Away, far beyond Jordan
We'll meet in that Land
Oh won't it be grand?
Away, far beyond Jordan
We'll meet in that beautiful Land

If you get there before I do
Look out for me, for I'm coming too
Away, far beyond Jordan
We'll meet in that beautiful Land.."

Brian is 45. His wee boy will be 8 in the next few days. No matter how long we live, none of us are here for very long. Here's anither great sang:

"...There is coming a day when no heartaches shall come
No more clouds in the sky, no more tears to dim the eye.
All is peace forevermore on that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be..."

(Illustration of the Heavens taken from Rev Clarence Larkin's famous series)


Colin Maxwell said...

Hi Mark,

Sorry to read these things and we'll certainly be praying for you at this difficult time and indeed for Brian and his family. I too am 45 (46 next month) and a Presbyterian Sabbath School and children's meetings (in two different Baptist churches) in Belfast were my staple diet until I was about 12, when this little rebel got his own way. I don't want to hijack this blog wi' a personal testimony, but let's say this: God was gracious when I was 15/16 to set in motion the process that brought me to a personal faith in Jesus Christ.

We'll certainly remember you all in prayer.

Stephen Jamison said...

Hello Mark,
Sorry to hear this news . I did notice on an earlier entry in your blog you made mention of your friend Brian before. I will pray for him at this time and for you that God will give you the words to say. Life is so uncertain but thank God salvation is sure for all who recieve Christ.
God Bless you brother.

Mark said...

Colin / Stephen,
Thanks for your posts, and your prayers. I'll let you know how things go.