We woke early on Friday and our ride arrived promptly at 5.30am. He was a slow and steady driver – the sort that stretches one’s patience. We needed to be at Tullamarine no later than 6.30am and we arrived with just a few minutes to spare. We made our way quickly to the departure gate but somehow, boarding was only about to start so we ended up being the first in line.
On arrival, we looked for a bus into the city and arrived at the Rundle Mall part of Adelaide CBD just before 9am. We found a little café, and had a coffee and something to eat. We then thought we’d walk to the Holy Trinity church – the oldest church in Adelaide – but instead of walking towards the west we headed towards the east. The address was one of those which could be either one of two ends of North Terrace and we chose the wrong end.
When we realised our error, we headed back and Tress stopped at the St Peter’s college to ask for directions. An elderly couple very kindly pointed out we were at the opposite end of town and said they would take us there in their car as it would be too far for us to walk back there. What kindness…
We got to the church and saw my uncle Stephen just walking outside near the entrance. We sat down, talked a little bit with him and Ruth and Jonathan, and sat down to get ready for the service.
I have known the songs “Jesus loves me, this I know” and “God is so good” since I was a little boy. Until last Friday however, I had never sang these “children’s” songs in the context of a funeral/memorial service. They were simple songs and I had never expected these songs to cause my eyes to well up.
When Jonathan and Ruth spoke, I was able to know little Ezra a little better. He was loved so much and the short 22 days he lived provided a lot of joy to Jonathan and Ruth as well as to others such as my Uncle Stephen and auntie Paddy, his uncle, Caleb and auntie Cariss and the French family.
The video Jonathan made, showed little Ezra – particularly his last days in the paediatric intensive care unit. We had watched it the day before when Jonathan sent it out via email but I still found myself fighting back tears (and failing). The minister – Chris Joliffe – spoke on Jesus’s “calling out” of Lazarus and said Jesus wept too.
It also became obvious to me how strong Jonathan and Ruth were. They attributed this to their relationship with God. They knew God is all knowing and all loving. They know they needed to continue to abide in His Son because this gave meaning and purpose to everything that happens. With God at our side, there is less urge to know why. If He chooses to reveal the reason, that would be nice but it would not affect their faith in and relationship with Him.
It is the sort of knowledge, belief and response that is made possible through years of dependence on and obedience to God. That in turn, is made more possible through legacies bequeathed by both sides of the family – a legacy that has truly been “from faith to faith”.
Graeme and Susan have been missionaries for years and indeed, had returned from Hungary prematurely, from where they continue to serve as missionaries. Graeme gave a short message at the service, which showed where Jonathan’s strength came from.
My Uncle Stephen has been serving God for years in different capacities. I have made entries in this blog about his role in my faith during the our years (my brother and I) as boys in Klang. He in turn, has been a beneficiary of the legacy bequeathed by my late grandfather, whose role I have also made entries on.
And so I came away from this experience convinced of the role of the family in providing younger members with tools to build a stronger relationship with and dependence on God.
After the service we went to Jonathan and Ruth’s home, and spent the afternoon just talking to the family, before returning to Melbourne. It was a long day but one that helped us immensely. We hope it helped Ruth and Jonathan go through this period of waiting on and seeking the Lord as they celebrate and remember little Ezra’s brief but joyous and loving life.