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Wednesday, November 04, 2015

For Dr. Bruce Edwards and His Family

Last week, a great man, Dr. Bruce Edwards​, died. Bruce was my friend and early mentor (as chair of my Master's Thesis committee). His love for and pride and joy in his wife, children, and grandchildren (as well as for baseball and many literary areas of expertise, especially C.S. Lewis - and two even closer to me: U2 and Kenneth Pike) were inspirationally ubiquitous. In other words, every day all his friends knew how much joy Bruce experienced in those he loved and who loved him.

Over the years I was blessed: by Bruce's service as elder at the reason (BGCC) I made it through my graduate studies in Bowling Green; by book group discussions (incl. Chesterton, Bonhoeffer, Noll) from which ideas and details stay with me 18 years later; by grand spaghetti dinners hosted by Bruce's kind, creative wife Joan and him; by a generous letter of recommendation that influenced my getting my job as teacher and administrator at Gordon; by exchanges of movie reviews; by his son Justin, who was my wonderful colleague last year; and by Bruce's (perhaps unaware) prompt to begin studying and writing about a topic I've immersed myself in for nearly 20 years -- death and public mourning.

One special evening at Bowling Green Covenant Church in the late 1990s, members presented and shared works of C.S. Lewis in a pastiche of readings, music, and dramatic performance. At Bruce's encouragement, I read, emotionally, from A Grief Observed. Much of this work of Lewis is painful and angry and true to the anguish and confusion of the processes of grief for a person with faith. "Yelling," Lewis describes his expressions of doubt and blame at one point. This, for me, is a glimpse of hope and courage in genuine darkness; it is memorial.
Praise is the mode of love which always has some element of joy in it. Praise in due order; of Him as the giver, of her [Lewis' beloved] as the gift. Don’t we in praise somehow enjoy what we praise, however far we are from it? 
Thank God for Bruce and his family, immediate and far-reaching through his friendship, words, and gifts.

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