You may wonder why I am blogging about a man that I only knew for two or three years. I have known many other wonderful Christian men and women, and I haven’t written about them… well, not yet. Now that I am in my 60’s, I sometimes get moved by God’s Spirit in a fresh new way. Hmmm, imagine that. Not long ago, I was sort of fighting with the notion of my increasing age (62 now) and the reality it has placed upon me. Ok…so, why Pop Taylor and who was he anyway?
Pop was a member of my extended Gathering Family. This is a group of eclectic believers, followers of Jesus Christ, who have been drawn together for prayer, fellowship, and encouragement. We are also a very culturally diverse group. We meet at a fellow missionary’s home almost every week. He is Kenyan and the rest of us are a mixed bag of saved humanity. I try to attend as much as I can and my life has been enriched by the group. We are made up of white, black, Hispanic, and Asian folks. Over the years of my involvement, I have broken bread with people from Kenya, China, Republic of Congo, Korea, Mongolia, Malaysia, Mexico, England, and likely other nations that escape me as I type this little message to you. We are also multi-denominational but always find more in common than we do things that divide us.
Pop was one of our older brothers in Christ. While I did not know him a long time in the grand scheme of things, he consistently brought sunlight into my life. Every time I saw him at the Gathering, he had a big – somewhat mischievous – smile on his face. He was always upbeat and loved on all of us, no matter what race or nationality we happened to be. The photo here is of him joining us at the Korean Baptist Church for worship a couple of years ago. I didn’t actually hear the story behind it, but I think he was wearing the bright shirt to honor our Gathering host, Pastor Jared Okoth (the Kenyan missionary brother). When I had opportunities to talk with Pop, he would make sure that I (and everyone) knew of his special commitment to and relationship with our Heavenly Father.
So, to finish up, let me say that his home-going was lovely. Pop’s family from out of state were there with us and a few of his classmates from Merry High. Pastor Okoth did the eulogy and a few of us shared about our memories of Pop. Later, the family was treated to a fellowship / memorial meal in the fellowship hall at Poplar Heights Baptist Church… thanks Bro. Richard and congregation for honoring Pop’s family in that way.
If I could sum up the idea and Spirit that moved me to write this, I would tell you that in this life, there is plenty of trouble. We don’t need to add to it by dividing ourselves or erecting barriers of race, culture, or nationality. If you are washed in the blood of Jesus, the Christ… well, He would not be pleased by our in-fighting and narrow mindedness. Be like Pop Taylor – as I knew him – and love on people. Shoot, love them into the heavenly family, you know, the one that is not a respecter of persons. Amen.