LIFESTYLE | The Assurance of the Fathers Love
The first day I attended Gateway Community Church, I was seventeen and raw. Raw from life, raw from brokenness and abandonment. I was raw from relationships failing me and raw from disappointment. The way I saw it, I had two choices. Loose my faith or seek out a deeper faith.
It was Palm Sunday. "This is it God. I am giving this one more try." I whispered to myself.
Paul Francis wasn't the type of pastor you stood in awe of, you stood away from or you had to use the title "Pastor" before his name. He was a man who had a calling to lead. He led by humbleness and for someone like me, who felt swallowed up by church 'pomp and circumstance' the simplicity of his delivery was a relief. I didn't have to be anyone but myself. He truly reflected the Fathers Love and I soaked in it and so after that first Sunday I kept coming back.
Paul and Kathy came alongside me in the roughest times of my life and even after they moved, I knew that I could struggle, reach, fail, and reach some more and still find the Fathers Love within them. This is rare.
This is the Legacy:
We are all human. We all will fail each other and that is the simplest truth that will either tear you open or heal you. For me, I have learned that it is the deepest honour to reach towards love and grace for and with each other. I have failed my mentors and my pastors who taught me to reach for that love first. I have been hurtful, rash and utterly wrecked with destruction.
BUT there is a redemption story that Paul taught. In the darkest of nights of the soul, in the depths of despair and utter confusion God and his Love is there for you. He is there and his love wants to surround you and make you whole again.
Paul , Kathy, Lisa & Joel, thank-you for this legacy.
As I let my heart break open for the grief to swell it, I keep hearing these words:
- King of My Heart 'John Mark McMillan & Sarah McMillian
Along with the benediction that I heard for most every Sunday when Paul was at church.
"Go from here with the assurance of the Fathers love, a love that is made certain and secure now and forever. Go from here empowered by the Holy Spirit into your homes, schools, work places... Go in peace, go in power, but don't go until after this song." - Paul Francis