Aunt Jan opened the double doors where we were all waiting and offered us cousins an opportunity to take one last look at Tyson. I hesitated.
When I finally decided that I wanted to see his body, it was too late. They had closed it up.
The only reason I wanted to see his body was because I knew it would only serve to show the reality of our bodies. They are but tents. Temporary vessels. Even if I got to see Ty’s body, I wouldn’t be seeing Ty. He’s long gone to glory. He just left his tent.
We signed the casket with Sharpies. Lord knows that casket couldn’t hold all our inky memories.
The funeral was brilliant. God was honored. Tyson was honored. Those who spoke spoke well. And though there was sadness, there was joy. It was the kind of joy that Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 6:10 “sorrowful yet always rejoicing”.
I am glad that the way of salvation was proclaimed. Moral goodness doesn’t save. Keeping the rules doesn’t save. Making memories doesn’t save. Jesus saves. And Pastor Eric Thomas made it clear from John 14:6 that Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Don asked the crowd standing around the grave site to say out loud a word that described Tyson. The word I wanted to say got said before I could get it out– Timmy beat me to it– humble. So I used one that was equally true: kind.
Don then challenged us to be the ripples of Tyson’s life. To take the words that we ascribed to Tyson and make them our own.
As I was standing there I couldn’t help but think about the forgetfulness of our culture. There was a bygone day when people made a promise and were willing to die for it. My hope is that what we promised to Tyson would not be forgotten. That this tragedy would birth new habits. That people would plan their days differently because of what we’ve learned. That trivia wouldn’t rule our lives, but that we would live for what is truly and ultimately significant.
And when Steve Lantz’s deep bass-y voice belted “It is Well” I couldn’t help the tears. Because the truth is we can only start living for what is ultimately and eternally significant when we believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. What joy there is in Christ! What hope! Here and only here is the power to change forever!
So my question to you is this: what did you learn? How are you going to live it?
And if you’re human like the rest of us, you learned that life is short and often takes unexpected turns.
If you haven’t made Jesus Christ your Lord, Savior, and Treasure, do it. That’s where it all begins.
And you will be able to say with the Larson family those words of Martin Luther’s great old hymn:
Let good and kindred go, this mortal life also.
The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still
His Kingdom is forever.
For the first two parts of this tribute to Tyson:
Part 2: Bringing Us All Together Again