The day before my friend Paul died from his two-and-a-half year battle with cancer, I stopped by his hospice room. It was a Sunday afternoon and I was leaving for Australia the next morning.
“Hey Paul,” I said as I walked in the room, “You’re not going to guess who was in church this morning!”
His wife, Christiina, spoke up, “I already told him. Billy and Jenny.”
Paul looked at me and whispered, “You’re welcome.”
It was just like Paul to take credit. Three months earlier and we would have both been laughing about his joke.
Throughout Paul’s battle with cancer he and Christiina prayed lots of prayers, but one was repeated over and over: “God, we want something good to come from this. Something that brings glory to your son, Jesus.”
That prayer has been answered in lots of ways. It was answered Sunday when Bill and Jenny gave their lives to Christ and were baptized.
Bill and Jenny have been gathering with us at South Lansing Christian Church in the weeks since Paul’s death. They're plugged into a small group, and their small group leaders, Chris and Kathy, talked with them last week about what it means to follow Jesus, and why those who do are baptized.
And so, Sunday morning at 10:15, Bill’s sin and Jenny’s sin was washed away. They received the gift of the Holy Spirit. They were promised eternal life.
Jesus said, “there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Make that, the angels, plus one: my friend Paul.