His intention for the Christmas Dinner was to feed the poor and disenfranchised. His agenda was to gather Christians together under the call of the Gospel and bring unity among the Christian community in service to the lowest and least of these. Over the past weeks I've sat at Gary's bedside keeping vigil into the night while he was in a morphine and dilantin induced delirium and listened to him mumble and weep in his sleep about how many turkeys and cans of green beans and napkins and styrofoam boxes were yet to be donated to feed the 5,000 he hoped to feed this year.
Gary is now in a nursing home, probably living out his last months, perhaps weeks. His constant conversation when I've visited was about The Dinner. I saw him Thursday evening and he talked about the dinner again. He said the beauty of it for him was seeing people who claim to love Jesus but never see or acknowledge each other all year coming together to do something for those whom Jesus loves.
I sat beside him and whispered in his ear: "Gary, do you remember what Simeon said when he held Jesus in his arms? - Lord now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace according to Thy word. For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people. A light to enlighten the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people, Israel."
At the end of the day, Gary rejoiced. He is, as he said, "God ready."
May God grant you a peaceful ending of this life and your good defense before the fearful judgment seat of Christ is a far better one than I have today.