It was the summer of 1956, and our family had just relocated to Winnipeg to begin a new congregation in the suburb of Weston.
A large Winnipeg congregation purchased a suitable building for that purpose. Among the various things we needed to make the building suitable for use, we needed the services of an electrical company. An employee of that company was sent out to meet with me. In the process of our conversation, I discovered that he was a Christian believer.
Little did I know that he and his family would become our lifelong friends.
My acquaintance with Abe began with his service as an electrician, and expanded later when he reached out to me for my spiritual services.
Abe and his wife Roberta birthed their first child. That baby was stillborn. In their shock and grief, I accompanied family members to participate in a simple graveside service for Baby Diane in the spring of 1957. Shortly thereafter they became participants in the new congregation we were planting.
Over six decades, our respective families have visited reciprocally. At times we travelled hundreds of miles in order to do so. Our friendship was sincere and very long lasting. On two occasions this summer, we visited with Abe and Roberta. It was not a surprise when a family member informed us of Abe's passing from this life on September 13, 2016.
The final thoughts in my eulogy of Abe are found in two passages of scripture.
The first is Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
During our 60 years of relationship, Abe had proved to be both a friend and a brother. As a friend, he loved us in our family, consistently. As a brother, he had been a faithful committed servant of the Lord with me in the work of the Church. As a brother, he was a peacemaker - when I was faced with conflicts in areas of human relationships, he would seek to bring reconciliation among the members of the Church among whom we both served.
The second scripture is from the words of the Lord Jesus, when he said, "You are my friends if you do whatever I command you."
Death has interrupted our friendship, but our faith in the Lord Jesus assures us both, that we will be together again in Heaven forever. Faith in the Lord Jesus and his provision for our salvation assures both of us that our friendship will be forever.
What about you and your earthly friends?