Do, in Remembrance: Phillip Busbee, June 27, 2009

Communion

Image by pastorbuhro via Flickr

“…they visited Phillip… and said, “We would see Jesus” ( John 12:20)

I think the best thing you can say about any Christ-follower is that being done with visiting him, you just want to see Jesus.  That is the way of the very best teachers of the Word: they make you hungry for more of Him, you want to go apart yourself, and get out your Bible again. You want to see Jesus. That was how Pastor Phil made you feel. There was no boasting with him, his loveliness was all of the Lord.  You could clearly see how he had been with Jesus.  He died peacefully last Saturday.

But  he died  in pieces.  The infection  fiercely took hold, and was relentless. It took his legs first, and when I heard that, I said to the Lord, “Just leave the rest of him. Please spare his life and leave his fine mind and great heart.  Go ahead and take his legs if you must, leave an even more broken vessel, oh, but leave the rest of him here, oh have mercy on your people oh God.”

The Lord paid no heed to my pleas, to my abandonment issues surfacing  yet again; He ignored my cries for stability and security, saying tenderly to me “hold lightly to the things you can see, and tightly to the things you can’t'”, as He took Phil to be with Himself.  To be with Him in glory, laughing and leaping and praising God face to face, eating the  leaves of the trees there that  are so much better than insulin.

The tender mercies of the Lord are different than mine. I felt the Lord speak to me the other day that He did leave Phil’s heart and mind.  They are impressed upon my own, preserved in the notes I keep of every sermon he preached,  that I do look at again and again, tucked in the pages of my Bible.  Especially the last sermon he preached four days before they amputated his legs.  “Who Do They Say He Is?”,  on John 19.  Like a man  who knew his time was short, he opened with the most important issue of all, the one forever forced on the sin-sick soul in Communion.  The bread and the wine were presented, and he reminded us that it is not a table spread before us, but a trial we come to.  The question the terrified Pilate asked– “Who are you?”–   must be answered by us over and over  again. Phil said, “We come to the cross, we smell again, see again, feel the pain again and say,  Jesus, don’t let me forget! Who You ARE!  You made your way to the Father’s will, you ask us to do the same.”

So will we do these things to remember Him.

I feel the anguish now in those words I quickly scrawled that I did not feel then, but I knew even then a drama was taking place.  I have never before taken notes on a communion  preamble.  I cannot think, as I read those words now, that Phillip Busbee was not unaware of what the Father was asking of Him.   He had left the hospital to deliver his message. He was in a wheelchair again.  He was weakening again. He captured so movingly the turmoil and chaos of the trial  of the Son of Man because I think he knew the verdict of the Father on his own life, and Phil  was used to yielding to Him. He was a man who so often was with Jesus, and had learned through the trials of his life to say “yes” to Him. That is why the Son of Man’s Word shone so clearly through him.

So I will follow Phil, the way he  followed Christ.   The way he led us to Jesus. The way he said, and like his Master, it cost him everything he had to say it, “Not my will, Father,  but Your will  be done.”

And here is a beautiful song. Worship your King, as Phil does now in glory, and serve Him wholly, as Phil did on earth.

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4 Comments on “Do, in Remembrance: Phillip Busbee, June 27, 2009”

  1. Mark Finger Says:

    You wrote:

    “I think the best thing you can say about any Christ-follower is that being done with visiting him, you just want to see Jesus. That is the way of the very best teachers of the Word: they make you hungry for more of Him, you want to go apart yourself, and get out your Bible again. You want to see Jesus.”

    Well said, and I completely agree …

  2. mkayla Says:

    Very beautiful, and again my heart goes out to you. You have no need of an encouraging word from me as I can see you already hold them within yourself.

    Be well, it is good to see you. 🙂

  3. Karen Butler Says:

    Thanks guys.

    I have been thinking there is one more way I want to emulate Phil, and that is the lovely way he enjoyed his brief life. He was funny! One of the speakers at his funeral, (which was on the same day as Michael Jackson’s) said that Phil would have looked at us and said “thanks for coming, but I know you are here because you couldn’t get a ticket to the other one.” His daughter said he used to go down the steep hills of our city, all alone in his wheelchair,just laughing and laughing. Phil had a winsome spirit of childlike enjoyment of life that I long for.


  4. […] gulf between our two worlds kept me from such a person–I describe him here: I think it is the best thing I ever wrote. And not because of the writing, but because of the […]


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