Mike Cope's blog

Monday, February 21, 2005

Still this morning I'm emotionally exhausted. Yesterday I preached on Eccl. 4:7-12 and the importance of community. "Two are better than one." At the end, I talked about how clearly that truth had been taught in the past five weeks to the eight families who were directly involved in the wreck. We learned of the vital importance of community from so many people. First, there were the seven Highland boys in the following vehicle who were told by the driver (as he got out to go help) to stay in the car. They began praying immediately for their friends. They prayed when we (the parents) didn't know to pray. There were also the many people all over the world (check out the comments on my January 16 blog) who carried us in prayer and encouragement. When we were frozen by fear and could hardly pray, others offered those prayers. I invited the eight families down. It was an emotional sight to see everyone up there--two in wheelchairs and one on crutches, Brody's parents and brothers, and all the rest of us. Then four from the group--two children and two parents--offered testimonies about what they'd learned about friendship and community. Here is what Diane said: "When I first heard the news that my child was in a serious car accident, I could hardly bare the fact that he was somewhere alone, hurt, and afraid and I wasn't there. Then a couple of days later I heard news about those who helped our children. I can't begin to tell you how comforting that was for me. "In this world where people are afraid to get involved, our children were surrounded by warm, caring adults. As a mother, I am especially thankful for the women who were whispering into our children's ears with their calm, soothing voices. I'm thankful that they took our place in the dirt, since we couldn't be there. And I'm grateful that they held our children's hands and provided their mothering touch. "On that cold Sunday afternoon in January, these women and men became community in a way I'll never forget." After her words, we invited down many of those who had stopped to help our children and Julie as they lay injured that afternoon. We had invited all we knew of -- many of whom our families had been in contact with by phone to thank and to learn more. And yesterday these "Good Samaritans" came to Highland from New Mexico, Monahans, Midland, Lubbock, and Abilene. Can you imagine what it was like for us to see them in person for the first time? Diane and I got to be with the woman who sat by Chris's side the whole time to calm him, keep him warm, pray for him, and try to keep him awake. When we weren't there, she became a mother to him. Then we invited down all the emergency response people who were able to come. We had 13 or 14 able to come from Citizens EMS, Southwest Helicopter, Eula Fire Department, the Callahan County Sheriff's Department, and a Callahan County judge. Once they were all down, the church broke into long standing ovations at both services. Then as the elders and wives gathered around all of us, Dickie Porche thanked God that these people didn't pass by on the other side. In between the services, we had a private reception with the eight families and all these care-givers. So many of the parents spoke words of appreciation during this time. I was especially struck by what one dad said: our eight families are bound together forever. So, yes, I'm emotionally wrung out. These people who stopped to hold Brody as he was dying and to care for the other seven as they were cold and frightened are a living witness to this old text: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the one who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

19 Comments:

  • I was reminded this morning of the Casting Crowns song - "If We Are the Body." The church responds, "YES, WE ARE THE BODY!"

    By Blogger David Michael, at 2/21/2005 05:48:00 AM  

  • I'm emotionally drained just thinking and reading about all this! WOW! Wish we could have been there. What a special time for the Highland family (and a couple of hundred lecturship guests!) I know you impacted the lives of the rescue workers and the people who stopped to help. What a blessing!

    By Blogger SG, at 2/21/2005 06:20:00 AM  

  • Mike, I was moved just reading about yesterday's service--it sounds like there was a "sweet sweet Spirit in that place". My parents, who have lived in several places, always thought that the most kind and helpful people around are west Texans. Your words today conveyed that to all the rest of us who are still praying for everyone's physical & emotionaly recovery. Peace to all of you.

    By Blogger annie, at 2/21/2005 06:25:00 AM  

  • Oh, how I wish I could have been at Highland yesterday morning to witness the moving of the Spirit. I often struggle with my faith, wondering if God even exists, and then I observe this kind of event...and I think, yes, God exists. And He is working.

    By Blogger Jana, at 2/21/2005 06:28:00 AM  

  • Thank-you for letting us see and hear and feel what happened yesterday as the body gave honor to whom honor was due. You not only honored them...you honored Him.

    By Blogger Rusty Peterman, at 2/21/2005 06:42:00 AM  

  • There are no words...only tears and what feels like a golf ball in my throat.

    Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!

    By Blogger Niki, at 2/21/2005 07:06:00 AM  

  • Great post Mike, I felt like I was there at church with you folks. Thanks for sharing this with us. That is so nice that you all were there together embracing each other with typical christian love. God bless

    By Blogger JP Manzi, at 2/21/2005 07:29:00 AM  

  • Wow... that is a memory that will last a lifetime ... a healing moment filled with bittersweet joy. God's blessings.

    By Blogger JD, at 2/21/2005 07:34:00 AM  

  • Thanks Mike, man it is so good to hear things like that. God is smiling about that interchange I am sure of it. I would have loved to see the faces of those people getting the standing ovation. What a witness to them as well.

    Prayers and love

    By Blogger Phyllistene, at 2/21/2005 07:35:00 AM  

  • Not only was the Word powerfully taught,
    Not only did the words spoken touch our hearts,
    Not only were the emotions almost overwhelming,
    The music worship was amazing, especially the closing "Blessed Be The Name" seemed to physically transport us to the very Throne of God - His Spirit was so evident in our midst.

    A comment made to me after the service seems to say it all.

    "I preached here over 20 years and have visited many times since, but this was the most magnificent, Spirit-filled service I've ever known at Highland."

    By Blogger Kathy, at 2/21/2005 07:36:00 AM  

  • Mike, as always, we say THANKS for sharing your life with all of us! It sounds like to me that you got just a little peek as to what Heaven is going to be like.

    "I can only imagine"!

    Love you,
    DU

    By Blogger David U, at 2/21/2005 07:36:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Thanks for sharing this! I had brought our one year old, Ellabeth, in to hear ZOE (I really believe babies spirits hear the Spirit in worship), and she fell asleep, but woke just as you began speaking, so I missed it! We will check into getting the tape/cd, but your recounting helps to fill in the gap! Thanks! Though Annaleigh and Ellabeth are much younger, our family is still touched by all these events, more than time and space and words allow to tell.

    Beverly

    By Blogger Beverly, at 2/21/2005 07:39:00 AM  

  • Mike,
    Your words bring a flood of emotions to the surface. What a blessing to be able to thank, hug, and cry with those who brought comfort to those children on that roadside. What a wonderful way to show your love and the love of the Lord to the "Good Samaritans." It brings tears to my eyes and heart as I remember two unknown individuals who helped my child on the side of an Arkansas road. As she lay there scared because she could not move her arms and legs waiting for the ambulance on that lonely backroad two strangers stopped to bring aide and comfort to her. They left the scene as the ambulance did and did not tell those two helpless teenagers their names. We know nothing about them. We do know that they cared enough to sit in a mesquito filled field with that frightened 18 year old child and the scared young man who bravely cut her seat belt to pull her from the car. I would love to be able to hug them and tell them what they did that night. I do know that God sent them to minister to Reagan and to Nathan and I know that God will reward them. We simply refer to them as our "highway angels" and hope that we can thank them in heaven some day.

    By Blogger BW, at 2/21/2005 10:34:00 AM  

  • We drove down and went to both services. I made sure that I found a box a kleenex before the 2nd.

    A cord of 2,000 strands is...?

    By Blogger Larry, at 2/21/2005 10:50:00 AM  

  • I was OK yesterday morning until I saw Brody's mom, Jennifer, walk out arm in arm with Julie's (the driver in the accident) daughter. Forgiveness and healing like that can only occur in community. Two are truly better than one...
    Amy Boone

    By Blogger Amy Boone, at 2/21/2005 10:56:00 AM  

  • I have never attended a more powerful worship service than our services at Highland yesterday. What an incredible way to demonstrate "community." I kept wondering to myself what these people were thinking -- the folks who stopped on the side of the road who surely were not all Christians. I kept thinking to myself -- they have got to be feeling something very powerful here today. And if they were not Christians when they stopped to help - what they saw yesterday I believe in my heart would make them want to know more about Christ and "His community."
    Throughout these past 5 weeks when "Blessed Be The Name of the Lord" has been led at Highland, you can tell it's been hard for some to sing -- just because hearts have been so heavy. My throat has had a lump in it every time this song has been sung. But when this song was led yesterday, you could just tell -- everyone was wanting to sing it -- to stand up and say it -- "Indeed -- in all circumstances -- no matter what -- "Blessed Be The Name Of the Lord." And every time I hear this song in the future -- I will think of "community" and what I witnessed yesterday. And I will remember, "When the darkness closes in, Lord -- Still I will say
    "Blessed be the name of the Lord."

    Blessed Be Your Name

    In the land that is plentiful
    Where Your streams of abundance flow
    Blessed be Your name

    Blessed Be Your name
    When I'm found in the desert place
    Though I walk through the wilderness
    Blessed Be Your name

    Every blessing You pour out
    I'll turn back to praise
    When the darkness closes in, Lord
    Still I will say

    Blessed be the name of the Lord
    Blessed be Your name
    Blessed be the name of the Lord
    Blessed be Your glorious name

    Blessed be Your name
    When the sun's shining down on me
    When the world's 'all as it should be'
    Blessed be Your name

    Blessed be Your name
    On the road marked with suffering
    Though there's pain in the offering
    Blessed be Your name

    Every blessing You pour out
    I'll turn back to praise
    When the darkness closes in, Lord
    Still I will say

    Blessed be the name of the Lord
    Blessed be Your name
    Blessed be the name of the Lord
    Blessed be Your glorious name

    Blessed be the name of the Lord
    Blessed be Your name
    Blessed be the name of the Lord
    Blessed be Your glorious name

    You give and take away
    You give and take away
    My heart will choose to say
    Lord, blessed be Your name

    By Blogger Michelle, at 2/21/2005 01:47:00 PM  

  • I am with you, Michelle-I made it late into first service and "Blessed Be Your Name" was the song that was being sung, and just walking in I already had a lump in my throat and my tear ducts were starting to flow...I had no clue that later they would overflow!!

    What an incredible morning of worship, community, witness, healing, and a portrayal of the true body of Christ through lives and spirits which have been broken, but which God is and continues to mend...

    Praise God for His faithfulness and for providing us with a community of believers and angels in disguise!!

    By Blogger Katherine, at 2/21/2005 03:50:00 PM  

  • I can only imagine the service yesterday. One of the first people to stop and cut the kids out of the car was a couple from East Texas, Mark and Melissa Burrow. Melissa is my daughter's coach at Kilgore High School. My son, Zack Sharp, was home for MLK day from ACU and after hearing about the accident he realized he knew many of the families. I have been in contact several times for the Melissa and Mark and have sent them the URL for Mike's blog so they could keep up with the recovery of all the kids and Julie. Mark sat with Julie till she could be out of the car. Melissa attended to the kids by keeping them warm and staying with Beth. They were so upset that the long drive home was like an eternity to them. That next Thursday, at a school event, Melissa was so glad to have someone to talk to about the kids, the accident and about their involvement.
    They were unable to attend the service yesterday, even though they had planned to go. I know they wanted to be there. Thank you for the lovely post. I know they will be reading.

    By Blogger Vivian, at 2/21/2005 05:57:00 PM  

  • We were very blesssed to be part of Sunday's worship at Highland. With one of our ACU sons a member at Highland, I'm a regular reader of your blog and feel like I'm part of the family there. It was such a special, healing time and I think everyone there felt God's spirit and power moving through the body.

    By Blogger Rhonda, at 2/23/2005 05:29:00 AM  

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