Sunday, February 15, 2009
Southside Baptist Church in Warner Robins GA is a large one - at least when you compare it to other churches I have attended in my life. I would think there will be over 2,000 people in attendance on any given Sunday morning. The congregation is made up of folks from all walks of life and I think that is why I was attracted to it in the first place when we first moved here.
But in spite of the numbers and the diversity, the church is a close knit family for several reasons I won't go into here. But at least one of the reasons for the family atmosphere that has been brought to my attention lately is through the use of technology such as Facebook. To my knowledge, Jesus never mentioned Facebook in the scriptures but I’m sure he would have if the people in those days had access. Nowadays, church members regularly post wall messages to each other, post prayer concerns, browse pictures others have posted and basically get to know each other through the power of Facebook.
This weekend the close knit family at Southside took a hit. One of those hits that gets you right in the pit of your stomach when you are not sure if you are having trouble breathing or about to throw up.
One of Southside’s finest young men, Ryan Kimes- Richardson, was killed in an automobile accident on Friday afternoon. He was only 19 years old and had his whole life ahead of him. Or so we thought.
Among those Ryan left behind are his wonderful parents, Joe and Felicia Richardson. Joe is a Lt. Colonel in the US Air Force. Felicia is one of the most gifted singers I have ever heard sing. They are people of great faith who have raised and are raising their children to be people of great faith.
Right now Joe and Felicia are being forced to depend on the faith of others, such as their friends and their church family at Southside, to get them through the most painful experience life can offer – the death of a precious child.
If you are a praying person, I would ask you to pray for the Richardson family. What better way could I use the technology of the internet than to get other folks in different parts of the United States and the world sharing someone else’s burden.
If you want to get connected to this special young man, go to Ryan's Facebook wall and read the comments his friends are leaving there. You may even want to post a message there of your own.
One of these days in the not so distant future, Joe and Felicia will read all the messages. Their tears will increase as they read every word.
But take it from this lifelong undertaker; God has a way of using our tears and the love and support of others to mend broken hearts.
And in spite of the Richardson's great faith and the certain knowledge that their son is now in heaven, the Richardson's hearts are broken on this Valentine weekend.
And my heart breaks with theirs.