Wednesday, April 21, 2010
This week has been a tough one for me and Andrew. But we have also experienced amazing love and community.
One of our friends was killed in a biking accident on Monday morning. His name was Matt King and he was a member of our church, All Souls. (For those who might not know, All Souls is only 16 months old and is made up of about 35-45 people.) He was a remarkable part of our community and was even a part of a small group of guys that Andrew hung out with regularly. It has been a deep blow to both of us.
Matt was incredible. He was truly one of those people that took on life full-speed-ahead and with great joy. JOY! Yes, that is the perfect word to describe Matt. He was funny, energetic, always smiling, and always chasing around the kids and getting them all wound up, just in time for them to return to their parents' care.
Matt loved Jesus. LOVED Jesus. And he wasn't afraid to let you know. However, he didn't need to tell you. His faith was evident. In fact, his accident occurred while riding his bike home from just serving breakfast to Charlottesville's homeless at The Haven on Monday morning. He loved serving his community.
His loss is a huge blow to All Souls. We will miss him dearly. But his death has brought out amazing beauty in our church. Tuesday night is our regular small group night. Because we knew more members of our church than just those in our small group might want to be together, we decided to invite over whomever wanted to join us. As the day progressed, more and more people let us know they'd be joining us. And finally, Matt's family decided to come.
Matt's family is from South Carolina and had made the terrible journey up to Charlottesville on Monday. After spending most of Tuesday taking care of all sorts of necessary details, they made the incredibly brave decision to join us, to spend some time with Matt's friends. So we gathered, we ate, we hugged, we told stories, we laughed...a lot, we cried, we shared. It was an amazing expression of REAL community. Together, walking through this tragedy, holding each other as we try to navigate such a senseless accident.
I am so honored to be a part of such a community.
Today, we met at Matt's apartment. His parents agreed to let us pack up his stuff and clean his apartment for them. Then, they can go through his things on their own time. It was yet another tangible expression of our love for Matt and our commitment to each other. Matt's joy was present even today. We told hysterical stories of Matt as we cleaned...and even imagined him having a great laugh in Heaven watching us work so hard. The joke was definitely on us!
Tomorrow, we will meet to formally remember Matt and mourn his loss. Please pray for his parents, his little brother Ethan, who's 20th birthday was the day Matt was killed. Please pray for the driver of the truck that hit Matt. He was not at fault at all, but will carry with him this tragedy the rest of his life. Pray that he would learn and believe that Matt would only want him to live a free life full of joy.
We are praying, too. And thanking God so, so much for such an amazing community.