Pastor’ Letter March 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On February 26th, I attended Anita Cooper’s Memorial Service at the First Presbyterian Church of Sparta, in New Jersey. Some of you may remember her as the woman who came to church with my mother. Typically, she and my mother made the trip at least once a month. She always said that if she lived closer, she’d be with us every Sunday.
At her service there were many wonderful things said about her—how she never complained, despite her numerous health issues she suffered over the last several years. How faith was central to her life, and how that had made all the difference in how she lived, how she spoke, what she spoke about.
Her grandson, who visited from Colorado every year since he was a child, remembers going to church with Anita and how he came to faith as a child and was baptized in her church. His faith remains strong to this day as a man, a father, a husband.
I am writing about her this month to encourage us all to leave a legacy of faith behind. Death will come to us all, as does suffering. I remember her saying to me once how she had prayed for her son, Mark, her only child, that he would come to a living, breathing, active faith.
She prayed: “Lord, whatever it takes.”
Not long after she shared this with me, Mark was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He’s undergone surgeries and chemo. Currently, he has a clean bill of health. But it struck me and continues to strike me, how a mother could pray “Lord, whatever it takes,” for her son to come to Christ.
How great is her faith, how great is her love, that she didn’t want him to miss out on the most essential thing this life has to offer—a relationship with Jesus Christ. Not faith for faith’s sake, but a saving knowledge of the One who came to save us from ourselves, to set us free for the awful weight and wages of sin, who would lead us in all the ways to not forfeit our lives, but to gain the best this life has to offer, as well as eternal life forever in his presence.
Would we dare say such a prayer for those we love?
After the service, Mark found me and slipped me a card for the church. Inside was a check for $5000. I am still in a state of amazement.
Anita’s legacy of faith will go on in our church through the friends she has made, through her gift, and through one another. Let us praise God together for the life she lived and for the time she had with us.
In His Name,