Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tribute to Loius Luyt

Some men loom larger than others. Some cast a shadow broader and longer than the person standing next to them......and there is no doubt that we gather in memory of such a person today.
Big physically… let there be no doubt about that. 
But big in many other ways as well: Big in your  lives as family....... Big in our nation at different times of her history.....  Big in rugby at a turning point in its history....... And big in the lives of many ‘little’ people at  important times in their lives, but in ways that the rest of us will never know about, but which they will never forget.

How will we remember this big man?

John 14 has been my guide as I have sought to bring God's comfort to the Luyt family this week. In a private ceremony for the immediate family, John 14:1-6 and 27 was our focus.

Today I would like to reflect on verses 8-12 of that same chapter. 

As I read through these verses I am struck by a new picture of Philip...........Phillip is one of the "blue eyed" boys of the New Testament – a real hero and a quite spectacular missionary… but here we see Jesus giving him a real mouthful, almost a rebuke… and the reality is that this down side to Phillip is not the first (or second or third) thing that comes to mind when the name Philip is mentioned.

Interestingly, the other person mentioned in our reading is Thomas and thanks to Thomas' question to Jesus....“Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”........ we have this beautiful answer from Jesus that has lived on through the ages....“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

But… how do most people remember Thomas? .............That's right, even people who know little of the gospel story will often be able to tell you: Thomas is the one who doubted.
You ask people who don’t really even care about or believe in the Scriptures, about Thomas and they will say .............. he doubted.
That's how we remember Thomas.

How will we remember Louis?

It seems something in us seems to make us make an unconscious decision regarding how we will remember a person and it seems that we play a bigger role in that process than the person we are remembering.

How will we remember Louis?

Ask people what they know about Peter and generally they won’t say: "He founded and built the church of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem and wrote some parts of the New Testament."
No!!...... Ask people what they know about Peter and generally they will say:  "He denied Jesus"..... and if you ask them how many times he denied Jesus, they'll probably even know the answer to that… and if you question a little more and ask what animal was around when he denied Jesus, they might even know the answer to that.

Well, many times did Phillip deny Jesus? ALL the disciples actually denied Jesus, didn't they? We say Judas betrayed Jesus......they ALL betrayed Jesus.

But it seems we choose how we remember people......
How do you choose to remember Louis?

Throughout the Scriptures we have people described to us, often in great and embarrassing detail, but we choose how to remember them:
Noah – how do you remember Noah? Many will say: "He built an Ark."....few will say: He is the first recorded drunk in the Bible and his is the first family in Scripture which is torn apart because of alcohol abuse.
Abraham and Sarah – What did Sarah do when she heard she was going to fall pregnant? Many will say: "Oh, I know the answer to that.... she laughed in disbelief." Ask them if Abraham laughed in disbelief as well, and most are surprised to hear that Yes, he did....burying his face in the ground so that the LORD wouldn't see or hear him!
There seems to be something in us that is very selective when it comes to how we remember people.

How will we remember Louis?

The best word that I can come up with is........uniquely!

Louis lived a unique life. One of the great truths of Scripture is that we are all unique.

Why do we spend so much time trying to be like someone else…

The only person ever worth emulating or copying, is Jesus.

How was Jesus remembered – well, the religious leaders of the day remembered Him as a drunkard and a glutton. Others remembered Him very differently, all remembered Him as unique. Being unique is partly what it means to be fully, wholly, human.

Living out our uniqueness with the realization that it is our God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who has created us and imparted our uniqueness to us is what begins to make us uniquely unique. 

Without disclosing the contents of several talks that Louis and I had in this regard, and which I enjoyed immensely, I can say that Louis was very aware of the responsibility he had under God to live out his uniqueness – and fully aware that like all of us, he sometimes got it right and he sometimes got it wrong. 

I’d like to close with a question and a little story… my Louis story,....I'm quite sure each of us has at least one Louis story!

First, my question: 
Are you aware of and living out your uniqueness under God?

Now..... my Louis story:
PLEASE hear my story out completely :-)

Louis caused me great pain........ Wonderful........ great.... pain.
Let me explain: I mentioned to Adri in a book store that I was reading Louis' biography in the bookshop each time I had some time to spare. 
The next Sunday after our early service (which was Louis' service of choice of the three we had each Sunday at Umhlali Methodist Church)...Louis greeted me at the door and placed a copy of his book in my hand. Written inside was: To Cedric, Now you can read it at your leisure. Your friend, Louis.

How do you say thank you for such a random act of kindness.

I’d picked up somewhere along the line that Louis really liked Old Amsterdam cheese, so I hunted all over for a piece. Eventually I found some and went to visit Louis and gave it to him. He was very grateful and asked if I also enjoyed cheese. Well, I love cheese and told him so, and he disappeared for a while and then came back with a few chunks of a very mature New Zealand cheddar...... and we ate,..... and we ate. 

I suffer with that condition that no one likes to admit to or talk about............... gout

Louis caused me great pain!

For the next 3 days, as that cheddar worked its way into and then out of every joint in my body, I was in pain........great pain....."wonderful" pain........pain which I would go through all over again if it meant sitting with Louis, looking out over the Indian ocean and eating (very) mature New Zealand cheddar.

Rest in peace, Big Man. We will remember you....uniquely and as unique.

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