Covenant Friends Forever
If I make it through this alive, continue to be my covenant friend. And if I die, keep the covenant friendship with my family—forever. And when GOD finally rids the earth of David’s enemies, stay loyal to Jonathan!” Jonathan repeated his pledge of love and friendship for David. He loved David more than his own soul! 1st Samuel 20:14-17.
One afternoon I was sitting at my computer when my cell phone rang. On the other end of the line was an old friend I hadn’t heard from for over fifteen years. Kurt made his living as an engineer for Hughes Aircraft in L.A. and Denver. For our story, we will call him “Engineer Kurt.” He had recently lost a very good friend and wanted to reconnect with some others. He has Parkinson’s disease and was at a very low point. After a long conversation he told me that he had also spoken to “Captain Jim” who had been another mutual friend that I hadn’t talked with for more than thirty years.
I called Captain Jim. Jim had joined the Navy Air during the Viet Nam War and had served his country for more than thirty years and was living on the East Coast. After retirement
Captain Jim became a very good teacher in the JRTC. He wore his uniform, counseled, and taught history for 18 years. He is now a curator for a Freedom Museum in Virginia. Jim and I talked for a long time. We reminisced for a while, and then the conversation turned to our dear friend, Engineer Kurt. We both realized how much we wanted to help him, but both lived far away from our friend.
There was one other friend we all used to surf and goof off with, and that was “Doctor Harry,” who lives near me here in Southern California. All four of us had grown up together in the same church in Gardena, Park View Lutheran Church, that later became Loving Shepherd Lutheran Church. Doctor Harry is my closest and best friend. He and I were in the same confirmation class and went to California Lutheran Bible School together. I was his best man at his wedding and he was my best man at my wedding. He is the Godfather of my son and I am the Godfather of his son. Needless to say, we are close. I called Doctor Harry and told him about the two conversations that I had had with Engineer Kurt and Captain Jim.
You are probably saying to yourself “Why is Chuck referring to his friends in that manner. Because Engineer Kurt long ago had a dream that the four of us would go out into the mission field together; Engineer Kurt to build, Captain Jim would fly us around, Doctor Harry would heal folks, and Pastor Chuck would preach. That has not, nor I doubt that it will, happen, but something else has happened. Faith- based, eternal friendships have been reunited.
I called Captain Jim again and he suggested that we all gather in Colorado to see our friend Engineer Kurt. So, in November, we all flew to see Engineer Kurt, with all of our wives in tow and Captain Jim’s wonderful cousin, Susan. We had talked about how we all could assist Engineer Kurt, so when we got to his house in Colorado we began to work on different projects, cleaning, sorting mail, filing, computer work, cleaning up the front yard, organizing, etc. We had a great time together and Engineer Kurt’s attitude and morale was transformed.
At the end of the day we all gathered around Engineer Kurt to come to the Lord in thanksgiving. I gave a short devotional about the Mark 2 story of the four men who brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus, climbing up and lowering him through the roof because the place was so crowded. We formed a circle to pray. As we bowed our heads an old friend of Engineer Kurt’s came in the front door. This lovely lady was in tears and needed prayer too. So, we invited her into the circle. As we began to pray Engineer Kurt’s younger brother walked in and joined us. It was a wonderful time of prayer and fellowship, united in the Holy Spirit after all these years.
On the Sunday morning before our departure, we all went to church together. One thing about our upbringing was that when we sang hymns in Church everyone in the country could hear us. This had not changed. We sang the praise of our Lord with reckless abandon. The Spirit that had brought us together so many years ago was present. We sang, prayed, worshiped, and took communion. For the four of us this had been more than forty three years in the coming. After church we all commented on this awesome assurance. We also remembered the youth group, youth leaders, Joe and Charlene and Dick and Bonnie, our Sunday School teachers Mr. W, Mr. K, Mrs. M. and so many others. Last, but not least, we remembered our Pastor, Rev. Ed Rice and his wonderful wife. One more fact is that out of the thirty-forty young people that were in our youth group we believed that seventy percent of them were still in the Church of the living Christ.
You may be thinking here, “Wow, Pastor Chuck that is a neat story but what does that have to do with Hope at the Beach?” Great question! As we serve here at Hope at the Beach we hope that we are building a ‘covenant of love and friendship’ based on a fellowship of forgiven, forgivers. You might think that because you don’t attend Hope at the Beach that this does not apply to you but it does. Faith-based communities are brought together by God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We will be ‘covenant friends’ for eternity. Like Engineer Kurt, Captain Jim, Doctor Harry, and Pastor Chuck we all have been given different journeys to travel – sometimes apart. But God will always call us together to worship and praise his name. We may not have gotten the opportunity to serve together on this plane of existence but we all have and are serving the Living Christ who was born in Bethlehem and born in our hearts forevermore.
Thanks, our dear COVENANT FRIENDS,
May Christ live in our hearts together, forever,
Pastor Chuck and Lin