During a time when I needed most to be in a spiritually healthy place for me and my family, I had visited a small Church to where my heart had mysteriously felt drawn. And I had only attended a few Sunday services before, a Wednesday night in early November of 2017 when, the Spirit compelled me to make time for my first prayer meeting with the congregation. Yet I went, not with a complete sense of confidence that I could fully participate in the fellowship but more so, with misplaced apprehension of rejection; in recent years, I have elsewhere not felt the love and acceptance for my fervency that, by the Church of my youth, would have been embraced. But I now understand that God had a plan for me to go that night so that I could make the acquaintance of someone who has such a desire for the Gospel.
Glenn, a gentleman in his late eighties, reached out to me after the service that night and kindly asked to speak with me in private. You see, although I had initially not come to be an active part, I had been so moved during the vigil that I had partaken of the devotion and, once during prayer time, I had indeed felt led to open up without any reservation; I had surely dwelt in the midst of apparent saints who touched me with their discernibly righteous prayers and harmonious whispers. So, Glenn had then become interested in knowing me and my personal testimony.
Glenn’s questions necessitated answers of me that were deeply personal; my responses to such probing questions, forbid I include accounts of specific life-changing experiences, would be ambiguous. But Glenn had such a disarming manner — or, rather, I should say, “a gentle spirit” — about him that seemed so kind and trustworthy, I could not help but feel comfortable with sharing as many key moments of my life as could be expressed in a twenty-minute introductory conversation. I relaxed all the more once Glenn disclosed that he retired as a Pastor, and I later gathered so much more about his remarkable journey; he had obediently surrendered his life to become one of God’s most faithful servants (read more about him at http://www.alifeofobedience.com/author/).
You could see on Pastor Glenn’s website that he wrote a book entitled, A Life of Obedience: Glimpses of a Surrendered Life. His written prayers were that the “spiritual truths” in his book would be “used of God” to “inspire you to live a life of obedience” so that you would “receive the blessing that God desires for you.” Pastor Glenn impressed upon me that he has been passionate about leaving behind a legacy that would continue to positively impact lives for Christ.
On the Sunday that followed when I met Pastor Glenn, I attended a class at Church where he would be teaching. He began by singing,
“Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place | Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place | Omnipotent Father of Mercy and Grace | Thou art welcome in this place” – Dottie Rambo, David Huntsinger
I could discern much about a man by his manner of instruction. But his reflection, as seen in his daughter, is even more telling.
Pastor Glenn’s daughter, Glenna, has been such a loving supporter of her father. I have admired how, in the classroom, she has intently listened to her father and has contributed with the enthusiasm of a daughter who holds the highest respect for her father’s wisdom. And their bond has been so apparent as they have sat close to one another while listening to the sermons. Their strong relationship has said so much to me about Pastor Glenn and his upstanding character.
A week and a half before Thanksgiving, Pastor Glenn and I ate together at the Church pitch-in and, in doing so, I found in him a confidant and mentor who could relate to my calling and who would embrace me as I am.
On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Pastor Glenn firmly took hold of my hand, looked me in the eyes with such sincerity, and lovingly said, “If you ever need anything, you let me know.” He then blessed me as we parted ways. But just four days later, as the sun went down to usher in the eve of Black Friday, I received some disheartening news: My newfound dear brother in Christ, Rev. Glenn A. McHatton, had unexpectedly passed away on that very Thanksgiving Day.
I have since grieved the loss of a sweet soul who, in a short time, had become an encouragement to me and shall evermore be an inspiration because of his legacy of hope.
To Be Cherished and Remembered:
Black Friday is notorious for being the day when shoppers, in mass frenzies and in all selfishness, have committed assault as well as murder so that they could save a few bucks on items as paltry as a pair of socks. Our godlessness has become so obvious when, on such a day, stampeding hoards of single-minded people have callously valued a new TV more than someone’s life. Without God, we are bound to travel the treacherous ways of carnality that all lead to destruction.
On Black Friday, the day after Pastor Glenn passed away, I contemplated how much the line between civilized society and anarchy has faded and how much fainter it becomes when we lose the guiding light of a precious saint; this is the broad scope of my grief for the physical loss of Pastor Glenn. I am, however, grateful that he had captured in writing his bright-spiritedness for a world that, now more than ever, so desperately needs Christ to survive; this consolation is an inheritance that is to give us a hope and a future.
Let us cling to the saints while they are still with us and, once they are gone, let us not forget all for what they have stood to the end.
Lord of perfect peace in whose Heavenly Kingdom Pastor Glenn now rests, I pray that his example and message would continue to move hearts to pledge themselves to You and, in so doing, in the spirit of these sacred words:
“All to Jesus I surrender | All to Him I freely give | I will ever love and trust Him | In His presence daily live.” – Judson W. Van DeVenter, 1896
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” – Galatians 2:20 (NASB)
“Take my hands and let them move | At the impulse of Thy love. | Take my feet and let them be | Swift and beautiful for Thee.” – Frances R. Havergal, 1874