A bit more than thirty years ago a fellow asked for an appointment with me in my pastoral office at FBC, Midlothian. He came in appearing somewhat nervous. He began to talk and did not stop for awhile.
In the midst of his discourse it occurred to me he had come in essence to gain my permission to date one of our young women. The young woman was like a much younger sister to me. She had been through a very hard experience with a previous marriage. She had instructed her potential beau to come talk to me.
And, yes, indeed, I made him sweat. I asked him a hundred questions. Then I questioned his answers. Then I threatened him.
Jim James put up with my bluster. He joined our church. He became a friend of mine beyond the telling. I eventually married him to the young woman. They lived a mostly happy, healthy life. I had the privilege to baptize some of the family. I even got to marry the precious oldest daughter of this blended marriage family.
Last week in this space we called for prayer for Jim. He had been terribly injured in an accident. Yesterday, Monday, 12 March, 2019, at 4:55 pm his large, loving, grieving family gathered around his bedside to sing Amazing Grace. Jim died to this world, for now, at that moment. The family allowed me to be with them to watch Jim breathe his last.
I am more of a crier now. We all wept together for awhile. Then we began to share some happy, rejoicing moments from Jim’s good and happy life. He was not perfect. He was a bit of a grump sometimes, I am told. His family, all of them, gathered around his bed to sing. He could not have been too much of a grump, I think.
Jim James was my friend.