Learning from the death of Ben Larson

Well today learned more about seminarian Ben Larson, who God called home in Haiti.   The ELCA News Service posted an article on Ben and reported information from his wife Renee about Ben’s death. The article can be found at: He Spent His Last Breath Singing: Wife, Cousin Remember ELCA’s Ben Larson – News Releases – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The touching thing about the article was Ben’s behavior and attitude at the time of his death.  He was seperated from his wife and cousin.  He was clinging to a beam as the building began caving down on them.  In the midst of it all, he was singing.  The article reports that he had a sang the  words “God’s peace to us we  pray.”   Ben was singing praise to God, looking for His wholeness in the face of impending death.  He represented an attitude focused on God and his love and in the midst of immense crisis and face of impending death.  He focused on God, being separated from the wife he loved.  His death reflected God’s peace. 

Another important consideration in examining Ben Larson’s death was that he was true to how God created him and used his gifts up till the end.  He was created with musical talents and the ability to communicate God’s message in words.  He was serving others, building them up in understanding of growing in God.  He invested in God’s kingdom over.  He didn’t hold back, he did not just use what other people created. He actively used what God gave him and used those gifts to touch others with God’s love.  He did leave a little bit of his work behind on the internet.  He left seven songs published on a Myspace page including a worship song based on Psalms 30 . 

There is more information posted about who Ben  Larson was at his churches website: http://www.flcduluth.org/.  When you go to the church website, he hear Ben Larson singing varied songs, as they are playing four of his songs.  They also have a link to his obituary.   His obituary ends with a verse: I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will praise my God while I have my being. Psalm 104:31-33. As someone who only learned of Ben Larson due his death in Haiti, the little learned on the internet is that the verse sums up the man God created in Ben Larson.  He lived out the verse  till the end of His being in this life as he passed on to the next.  Personally, I hope and pray that what Ben has created becomes circulated amidst the church body as a whole, if his family and friends are able to find away.  In the meantime, take time to listen to what he has left and examine yourself to see if you are truly walking out and using what God has given you.   

As for Ben’s family and friends, may his Psalm 30 song echo in your hearts and mind and may God truly turn your mourning into dancing.  He clearly was a blessing and my life in enriched for learning of His love for God even unto death.  In fact, right now the thought that comes to mind is “Yet though he slay me, still I will praise him.” Ben did.  May the same be found true of us all.  


Musing on Davey and Goliath

On January 9th, 2010 the creator, Art Clokey, of the television show “Davey and Goliath” died in his sleep. The show was developed and sponsored by the Lutheran Church of America, which eventually became the ELCA. The show was a positive show that taught children morals. As a child it was one of the television shows that looked forward to watching and felt it was a Christian television show. In retrospect, the show displayed and taught Christian moral values but did little real pointing to Jesus. Recently the characters have been used in marketing. In addition there was a program on the Hallmark channel in 2004 called the snowboard Christmas, that emphasized an ecumenical, there are many paths, view point of religion and faith.

The show is probably like how many people approach Christianity in the culture. The focus can often be on what are the right moral things to do. Stand against homosexuality and abortion. Give to charities and churches. Treat others as equal. Love others. These can all be good things. But without the core of pointing to Jesus, it all lacks. As the body of Christ and those bringing the light of the Gospel to the world, do we settle for the exterior moral behaviors and miss pointing to the Gospel with love? In making a broad appeal to the world at large, is the center truth ignored with the hope that someone will let them know sometime? Is there compromise with the world so strong that the Gospel gets set aside and false messages such as the message of “multiple paths” and “what believe does not matter” become taught and embraced? Christians are called to be both salt and light. It means always pointing to the truth, which is Jesus.

Looking back, Davey and Goliath was a show in my mind that was one of the few that pointed to truth. Looking back, it stood for true moral behavior, but the elements of the Gospel were limited. Question is does media today that would fall into the same footsteps? Compromising truth by focusing on morals and externals verses the matters of the Gospel and need for salvation in Jesus. The time is both here and coming where people who profess the Gospel and claim to follow Jesus will fall away and reject the truth for something else. Perhaps some of that deception comes from focusing on the externals rather than the matters of the heart.