Two of the men we love at our church died on the weekend. The second was Dr Noel Vose, a man of great vision, godliness and passion. His death was news in churches across the world. A man who found YOU more interesting than he found himself.
But another of our brothers died too, not less than 24 hours before Noel. Less celebrated, but no less loved, and no less missed is Mike Moore. Mike died of cancer after a struggle over the past two years that saw him just get sicker and sicker.
In some senses he was everything Noel was not.
Mike was country; Noel was city.
Noel was tertiary educated; Mike was educated at the university of life.
Noel read wide and well; Mike read his Bible and that was pretty much it.
Mike worked with his hands; Noel worked with his words.
But, like Noel, Mike loved Jesus and he loved the people of Jesus too, just like Noel. They were united by something far grander than anything they were seemingly divided by.
Like Noel, Mike turned up at Providence Church Midland asking how he could be an encouragement.
And like Noel he was justified on the basis of the work of Christ on his behalf. More polar opposites I could not have met, but together they are a testimony to the unifying grace of Christ. Together they demonstrate Galatians 3:28:
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus
Isn’t God’s church wonderful?
I am doing Mike’s graveside committal on Friday and speaking at his memorial service. I am going to miss him.
I am going to miss his earthy ways, his strong-minded, but gracious ideas, his decision to keep motoring on despite ill health. I am going to miss his encouragement about sermons, his standing at the door greeting people (even up until two weeks before he died).
And it’s been interesting the stories that have surfaced these past few days from men who were greatly impacted by Mike as they grew up in church. I’ve heard tales of support and love and guidance in church, that complement Noel’s work of training ministers of the Word.
We prayed for older couples to turn up at our church plant because, back then, in my mid-to-late forties I was the oldest. Noel turned up. Then Mike, and his wife Cheryl turned up. They’ve taught us how to pray, how to do life as older people, how to interact with different generations.
I’m going to miss Mike just as I am going to miss Noel. And here’s the sweet thing: Even though they are so different, within 24 hours of each other they were welcomed the same way into the same arms of the same Saviour who loved them the same way through his death on the cross.
And now they wait, separately I assume, but for the same thing: the resurrection of the body on that last of all days.
Vale Mike Moore, I will miss you.
And all I can say as the week ends is “Marantha, come Lord Jesus.”