Saturday, April 19, 2008

A colossus of social justice

A service to celebrate the life of a colossus of social justice in The Salvation Army in New Zealand was held in Christchurch today. Someone said to me at the service Bob was the Edmund Hillary of The Salvation Army in New Zealand.

Bob lived incarnationally, in Bob you experienced Christ without a word being spoken. There were wonderful tributes today from Evelyn (Bobs wife), Grant (Bobs son) Daryl (Bobs son in law), Muriel (Bobs sister in law, fellow salvationists, politicians, the Crusaders coach, (soon to be the Wallabies coach Bob had prayed a prayer of forgiveness over him) people of the street, policeman, business leaders, fellow chaplains, police, fellow street workers and military personnel. Each person capturing snippets of this powerful man of God and his impact on their lives as daily and in every circumstances he lived out those three great Biblical themes of faith, mercy and justice.

But the most powerful tribute for me was the street people who joined Bob's family in the front row of the congregation (sometimes there was not quite room in the row for Evelyn). They were deeply grieving because they have lost a great friend who loved them and always gave them dignity. A person who was always there when they needed him and invited them home to share Christmas Day with Evelyn and himself.

Recently at Justaction Danielle Strickland talked of the neccesity for principle and practice in social justice. In Bob Millar those two aspects of social justice were beautifully combined. He spoke of the need for justice but he also lived it everyday. Those of us who had the priviledge of being in the shadows of this man of God saw someone in whom Christ dwelt deeply and our lives are different because of the experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment