Saturday, December 15, 2007

Goodbye Matthew Murray


I had the privilege to be at Matthew Murray’s funeral. It wasn’t announced, only family and friends were invited. There were several hundred people, every seat filled and many standing.

I spent a lot of time staring at Matthew’s picture on the front of the program. I looked deep into his eyes and wondered what went wrong with that young man. So many tried to reach him, to love him and yet it wasn’t enough.

I wondered how you do a funeral surrounded by such tragic circumstances. I was amazed. What came across was God’s incredible love, grace and forgiveness.

We heard stories from friends and family about Matthew and of what he meant to them. It was obvious that he was loved and will be missed by many people.

We heard about the meetings between Matthew’s family and the families of the YWAM victims. Love and forgiveness were poured out.

For many the pain will never end. Friends and family are dead. Questions will go unanswered. Lives will never be the same.

Another message from the funeral was a reminder of what Christmas is all about. Jesus came into a sinful world to bring redemption. He reaches out to each of us, wanting to free us from our bondage. We can be free and He wants to make us free yet many refuse the offer. Tricked by the lies of the devil some never experience freedom. Innocence turns to hardness. Hurt turns to bitterness. Lives are not what they could have been.

We were encouraged to take the message of love, grace and forgiveness out into the world with us. That is something we can do. Those of us who have experienced it first hand can make a difference. We can demonstrate God’s amazing love to a hard, hurt and bitter world.

Goodbye Matthew, I didn’t know you very well but my remembrance of you will cause me to live different in this world.

Philip

Here is an article about Matthew’s family.

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