We will gather at 3:00 p.m. this Sunday afternoon, March 15, to remember and celebrate a remarkable life because we have lost a great friend. Someone very important will be missing. With the passing of Randy Edwards into the life immortal on March 9, our world is not quite the same anymore. His death leaves a huge gap in many a life.
Randy Edwards was a deeply committed Christian man who loved the Lord and remained loyal to his Savior and to the church across the years of his earthly pilgrimage. Over the last ten years, he fought the illness which weakened his body with determination, with courage, and with stamina. Randy lived life to the fullest, and at the end, he bid a tender and heartfelt farewell to his loving wife and life-partner, Martha, and then went home to be with God. The doctors would say it was cancer; instead, we choose to believe his heavenly Father simply had other assignments in mind for Randy Edwards. And when Randy made his entrance into the heavenly realm, he was greeted with the words from his Master and Savior, Jesus Christ, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord."
In Thornton Wilder's play, Our Town, a character named Emily dies and then has a chance to look back over her life. She watches one of her birthday parties and then asks the narrator, "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it -- every, every minute?" Randy Edwards was one of those rare souls who could do that. The challenge for us as we look back over Randy's time among us is to realize life -- to grasp the full significance of it, to really look at one another in love and appreciation. We can take the good of Randy's life and embrace it; we can look at the lessons of his life and learn from them; and ultimately we can pour ourselves completely and unselfishly into the joys and challenges of each day we share, just as Randy did.
Randy Edwards has gone from our midst. Adjusting to life without someone who meant so much to us will take time, and it will not be easy. But even as we acknowledge that he is gone, at the same time it must be said that Randy is now beyond death, enjoying the life everlasting. In 2 Corinthians, the apostle Paul reminds us that "Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal" (2 Cor. 4:17-18).
Randy has joined his Lord Jesus Christ in the Father's house, in that eternal house where a place has been prepared for him. And someday, when we, too, make our glad entrance there, Randy Edwards will be one of the first to greet us, among all the saints of heaven.