|“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful...”
Psalm 116:15 (RSV)
On April 14,1995, Richard W. Calvin, Sr. fell into that dreamless sleep that kisses eyelid. still. While yet in love with life and raptured with the world, he pasaed on to silence at age 92. On Friday, April 21,1995 a service celebrating the life of Richard Calvin, Sr. was held at Mount Zion United Methodist Church, New Orleans, Louisiana.
This writer was asked to deliver the Eulogy and write this memorial. As I pondered what to say to this family of four sons, Richard, Jr.. Carl, Warren and George Calvin; eight daughters. Alice Dillard, Carolyn Hamilton, Johnetta Bushell, Dolores Lynch, Florence Jeff, Ruth Gooch, Veronica Thomas. and Arlene Solomon; thirty-two grandchildren and twenty-seven great-grandchildren, I remembered that I had been blessed to know this faithful servant of God for some forty-two years as a high school youth, college student, Seminary student, and a minister with him in the Louisiana Annual Conference for thirty-eight years. He touched my life as he touched countless others, as teacher, Administrator, Counselor and Minister for so many years.
Jesus taught that the measure of true greatness is found in service. Brother Calvin was a faithful servant He began his pastoral ministry in 1933 at Welsh Circuit and 1938 at the Baldwin Circuit. He started serving God in a dark moment in the life of our nation during “The Great De-pression” with an expression of hope and good news, with a deep and thunderous voice that he maintained throughout his active ministry and retirement
He served the Louisiana Conference in many ways as Pastor, Superintendent of Peoples Community Center, Counselor to youth and lifeguard at Gulfside, Secretary of Conference Commission on Evangelism, Registrar of Conference Board of Ministerial Training and Qualifi-cations and Song Leader at sessions of Annual Conference in Louisaana Conference But wherever Richard Calvin was asked to serve, he served well and faithfully.
This writer is mindful of a conversation I had with him very early in my ministry when I was assigned to one of his former churches--Trinity in Baldwin, Louisiana in 1960, and seemed perplexed by this small appointment, with very small compensation, no parsonage and two small children. He looked at me and said, “Doctor, I’ve been there. Be faithful and God will see you through.” His words were helpful for me then, and the rest of my ministry.
When we read Psalm 116:15 we are led to look at death differently from the viewpoint of the mind of God, for we are told, “Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of his faithful.”
Richard Calvin, Sr. was an extraordinary man of faith. He placed God first in his life and served people in Christ’s name unselfishly. It has to be that in some cases, especially with the faithful servants, death takes on a new meaning. We understand this when we know the nature of the faithful person we remember and what he leaves behind to be emulated. With Richard Calvin, Sr. we honor a lifetime of service; time spent in giving rather than getting. He is “precious” in God’s sight and has entered into the joy of the Lord.
Even now this great preacher’s departing words to all of us would be,
… Lift up your heart and share with me
God wanted me now
He sat me free...”
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1995; p. 248 By Abraham E. Davis|