On Monday, February 19, Central Christian Church in Danville, Il, lost one of its stalwart members, Mr. Harlan Smith, at the age of 101.
From what I was told, Harlan left his footprints on the sands of our time. And he did so for everyone he came in contact with in unique ways. On the day of his home going, all of us gathered as family, as friends, as church friends, as community leaders— and as fellow pilgrims who travel the self-same paths of life towards death. Together we mourn the loss of one so dear. Yet intermingled with the sadness within is the high note of gladness. Harlan lived a life full of accomplishment— a noble life that evinced the highest of moral values. Hopefully his legacy will be carried on. All of this we celebrate. But most of all, we celebrate the assurance of eternal life that comes through Harlan’s faith.
Central Christian Church was a major benefactor of the contributions that Harlan made during his life-time. He was a Sunday School Teacher and was known for his preparation. He was always there, in his Sunday school class; he was there with words of encouragement and praise. It is said that Harlan had the patience of Job. This comes about because he had an uncanny evaluation of the human spirit. He believed in people, in every ability to rise high and to accomplish great things. He believed that there was more in people than what naturally came out and that with encouragement, we could be the best we could be. Because of these beliefs, Harlan considered everyone as part of his extended family.
When Harlan’s life is examined there are no better words that these: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Now we are assured that he is at rest with God in perfect peace. Our promise of the heavenly reward is never based on our merit, but on our commitment we have made to Christ. Salvation and the heavenly home is God’s grace gift to us. We don’t earn it. But God has graciously looked upon us and given us life eternal.
We bid farewell to Harlan, and with God’s promise that on one glad day all of God’s children will be brought together in God’s heaven. There will be grand family reunions.