Last week, our pastor's wife passed away, leaving a heartbroken husband and congregation. Yesterday, our family attended the memorial service for Linda Reece, wife of Pastor Roger Reece. Linda and Roger came to serve at Pine Mountain Christian Community Church just three years ago and in a very short time they endeared the hearts of the congregation and the community. Evidence to this was the fact that the church had standing room only as people came to celebrate Linda's life and to show their encouragement to Roger and his children.
In the program, there was a poem by T.R. Buzzard, that sums up the Linda Reece we knew, loved and will miss until we see her again one day:
Our Pastor's WifeThe poem is a fitting tribute to Linda as were the many kind words shared by friends and family during the service.
In the shadow of the parsonage stands a figure of obscure.
Just behind the faithful pastor is his wife, devout and pure.
She is with him every moment helping make his work progress,
and you can't discount her portion in the measure of success.
Oft behind the scene of action, often never seen or heard,
yet she stands forever ready just to give a helping word.
It is not in active service that her worth is really shown,
but in the bearing heavy burdens that to others are unknown.
With encouragement and vision she must urge God's servant on,
when the shadows are the darkest and his courage's almost gone.
With her home forever open and her work quite never done,
she is ever his lieutenant in the battles fought and won.
- T.R. Buzzard
While there was sadness at the loss, to be sure, there was also great celebration and rejoicing as Linda is with her savior and pain free. I'm thankful for the Scriptures which provide this assurance. Before she died, Linda asked Roger to be sure to share encouragement from God's Word. Roger did an awesome job, talking to us as a friend, a grieving husband, and as "Linda's pastor", shared from the scriptures:
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. or the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1st Thessalonians, 4:12-18 NIV)
I thought it remarkable that Roger could even speak, yet I know he drew his strength from the Word and his love for Linda. I left sad but greatly encouraged. I hope that someday my own memorial service will have an equal impact on others.
Linda, we'll miss you. Roger, we love you and hold you in our heart.
The Mack Family