I wasn’t sure whether or not I should post my reflections on Roger Bennett’s funeral. With over 50,000 people watching it online, I imagine that nearly everyone who reads this blog will either have been there, have watched online, or will watch the DVD that the church will make available.
The funeral started ten minutes late. I was amazed beyond belief when the pastor began by saying they had delayed it so that those of us who were watching online could see it. He said that 50,000 people had tuned in, and this had crashed the server. He joked that Roger must be taking a perverse delight in figuring out how to crash a computer at his own funeral!
Legacy Five sang “In His Grip,” a song Roger wrote.
Rev. Glenda McDonald, chaplain at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, spoke about Roger’s last years and his last days. There were several times in his final days, after he was taken off life support and was beyond the point where he was supposed to be able to communicate, where he opened his eyes and followed what his wife Debbie was saying. He even squeezed her hand several times, and mouthed the words “I love you too” several hours before he passed away.
They played an audio recording of Roger Bennett singing “I’ve Read the Back of the Book” (with the Josh Cobb-era Legacy Five), and displayed pictures from his life on a video screen.
Jordan Bennett sang a song about saying goodbye. His voice has obviously not fully matured yet, but he sounded so much like his father that it blew me away.
Scott Fowler, who has spent the last sixteen years on the road with Roger Bennett (nearly Fowler’s entire professional career), led the audience in singing “What a Friend” and “Victory in Jesus,” Bennett’s two favorite hymns. Then Legacy Five came on stage to join him singing “Jesus Saves.”
They then played a second song (audio) from Roger, his recording of “Home Free.” I won’t try to capture in words what it was like, but it was simply amazing.
Phil Hoskins delivered the main sermon. He made some excellent points, including reminding the audience that we will be with Roger far longer than we will be without him.
He closed with a story about a little girl who got off the bus every day after school and ran across the street to look at a doll in the toy shop window. One day as she was running across the street, a car hit her. She was taken to the hospital and was in a coma for seven days. While she was in a coma, the toy shop owner brought that doll and laid it next to her in the bed. Later that day, she came out of her coma, opened her eyes, and the first thing she saw was the doll. She looked at it, and her first words were: “Mommy, the glass is gone!”
All these years, Roger Bennett has been beholding our Savior through a glass, darkly…until now.
Now whether it was something man planned or something God planned I do not know, but the next thing that happened, the final event in the service, was a video of Roger Bennett singing “We are Home” with Legacy Five. The second verse says:
For years we had lived in a place not our own
Occupied country, the enemy’s throne
Never belonging and so out of place
Constantly striving to finish this race
Now we are standing as trophies of grace
Anxiously awaiting a glimpse of His face
The veil has been lifted, the glass has been cleared
With loud hallelujahs the King has appeared!
We are home…