Last Wednesday, the processional carrying the body of fallen soldier Jeremy Faulkner passed our church on the way to the funeral home in McDonough. Faulkner was killed March 29 when his unit came under enemy fire in the Konar Province of Afghanistan.
Faulkner’s body was flown to Falcon Field in Peachtree City, arriving around 11 a.m. Then Patriot Guard Riders and law enforcement officials escorted his body through Fayetteville and Lovejoy and into McDonough. Citizens lined the route to wave flags and show respect for this Griffin High School graduate.
These moments are moving and our hearts go out to the family. We’re grateful for the sacrifice Jeremy and others have made to protect our freedom, and we’re grieving for the loss this family feels.
Last summer, 34-year-old Ryan Arnold discovered that his liver was a perfect match for his brother Chad, a 38-year-old who had struggled with an incurable liver disease known as “PSC” for several years. His symptoms were getting worse, his condition was deteriorating and he needed a liver transplant fast.
Ryan stepped up and volunteered to donate part of his liver. The liver regenerates itself, and though this was a very high risk surgery, the success rate is very high.
Chad was overcome with emotion as he shared about learning of Ryan’s decision.
“It was a very humbling experience. Ryan called me and said, ‘I’m a match.’ And you feel a lot of things at that point. Relief, and gratefulness to God and to Ryan.”
The day for surgery came, and Ryan’s surgery was first. They removed 60 percent of his liver, and he was whisked away to recovery while they started the transplant on Chad.
Dr. Igal Kam, the surgeon, said, “We have two brothers here today and one of them is very sick and probably can’t hold on for too much longer. It’s hard for him with his disease to get to the top of the transplant list. But his brother came around and said he would give him part of his liver. It’s that kind of generosity that’s wonderful to see because he’ll probably save his brother’s life.”
Both surgeries were a success, but the day after Ryan was moved out of ICU, he went into cardiac arrest and died two days later.
Ryan gave Chad the gift of life, a gift which led to his own death. As Chad said, “Ryan gave without hesitation. It’s the ultimate sacrifice . . .”
So did Jesus. This Sunday begins Holy Week, a time of reflection and worship that focuses on the passion of Christ. The week begins with a triumphal entry, the scorn of a fickle crowd, the mockery of a trial, the crucifixion of Jesus, and then the glorious news that the tomb was empty and that Christ arose.
Someone outlined Holy Week this way:
• Sunday, A Day of Triumph, Mark 11:1-11;
• Monday, A Day of Cleansing, Mark 11:15-19;
• Tuesday, A Day of Preaching, Mark 11:27;
• Wednesday, A Day of Preparation, Mark 14:1-11;
• Thursday, A Day of Communion, Mark 14:12-26;
• Friday, A Day of Suffering, Mark 15; and
• Saturday, A Day of Silence.
A man was walking down the street in a big city when he saw in a store window a vivid painting of the crucifixion. As he studied the picture, he became aware that someone had come up beside him. It was a young boy who also was gazing at the same scene.
The man asked the boy, “Son, what does this mean?”
“That man is Jesus,” the boy replied, “and them others is Roman soldiers, and the woman crying is His mother.” He paused, then added, “They killed him.”
Finally, the man turned and walked away, but just a few seconds later, he heard footsteps gaining on him, and then the boy caught up with him and proclaimed, “Mister, I forgot to tell you the rest of the story. He died, but then He rose again!”
That’s the good news of Easter: He died, but He rose again! And He lives!
Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ga. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Rd., just past the department of drivers’ services building. Join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org.