Friends Are Forever

A week ago today I helped do the funeral service for my mentor and dear friend Delos Corderman. Today is Ascension Day and I have Corderman on my mind, and his family: Evelyn, Amy, Laura, Greg, Bill, and the “Prince” – Delos’ grandson, Nicholas. Delos gave so much of himself to this Annual Conference as our Conference Secretary and as Pension/Credit Union/Benefits Officer. He was sometimes hard to understand because he was so smart, but the thing that always rang clear was his love for Christ and his love in helping people. He had his “Hit” list of lazy preachers but even with them he was always fair. His humor was ribald and mostly unrepeatable, but always unforgettable. We will miss him. I believe in the Communion of Saints. The Church Triumphant in heaven and the Church Militant on earth have a mysterious but very real co-mingling that inspires, encourages, and lives forever. Corderman’s influence will be a continual gauge for my actions, and I hope that I make him proud. South Carolina has lost a hero.

When I think about Delos as a mentor and the tie that binds across eternity in the Communion of Saints, I’m remined this morning of one of his stories:
Two men, walking through the woods, come across a big deep hole.
“Wow . . . that looks deep,” says one.
“Sure does,” says the other. “Toss a few pebbles in there and see how deep it is.”
They pick up a few pebbles and throw them in and wait . . . no noise.
“Hey, that is REALLY deep,” says the first man. “Here, throw one of these great big rocks down there. That should make a noise.”
They pick up a couple of football-sized rocks and toss them into the hole and wait . . . and wait. Nothing. They look at each other in amazement.
One gets a determined look on his face and says, “Hey . . . over here in the weeds, there’s a railroad tie. Help me carry it over here. When we toss THAT in, it’s GOTTA make some noise.”
The two drag the heavy tie over to the hole and heave it in. Not a sound comes from the hole. Suddenly, out of the nearby woods, a goat appears, running like the wind. It rushes toward the two men, then right past them, running as fast as its legs will carry it. Suddenly it leaps in the air and into the hole. The two men are astonished with what they’ve just seen.
Then, out of the woods comes a farmer who spots the men and ambles over. “Hey . . . you two guys seen my goat out here?”
One of the men says, “You bet we did! Craziest thing I ever seen. It came running like crazy and just jumped into this hole!”
“Nah,” says the farmer, “That couldn’t have been MY goat. My goat was chained to a railroad tie.”
Who or what are we tied to? I want to be tied to great men like Delos Corderman, not someone who pulls me down, but lifts me up; tied to Jesus who always ascends to defend us and sends His helpers like Delos to do the same.

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