“Who is this guy?”

This past weekend, we celebrated our lead pastor, Mark Norman’s, 25th year at Grace Community Church. It was a weekend filled with surprises, a bit of deception to make those surprises…surprises, lots of tears, and glory to God. The tension we had in thinking about the weekend was to honor Mark as a servant and glorify God as the Provider. Occasions like these can so easily steer into the extreme of glorifying the servant at the expense of the Lord, or glorifying the Lord and belittling the servant. I was blessed to work with a team of servants who achieved that balance well.

As part of my message on faithfulness for the service, I penned a poem for Mark. I’ve had several requests to see it in print, so I’m nervously posting it here. 

Today we celebrate your 25, and the dilemma I face is this:
How to use words to bless a wordsmith,
To lift up a humble man,
To glorify the Giver, while honoring the gift.

So I’ll simplify the task, and leave it to you to sort out my intention.
A wordplay of sorts, an unorthodox poem,
Summed up in the form of a question:
Who is this guy?

Husband to one, father of six,
Grandpatriarch of so many more.
Leader to many, shepherd to any
Who would come seeking the Lord.
Who is this guy?

Lancaster Monday, Staff on Tuesday.
Stint on Thursday, preach Sat-Sunday.
Offense and defense – meetings and study,
Repeat the following week.
Who is this guy?

Heart diseased and body in pain,
A wounded healer engaged in cardiac care.
Lover of the broken, friend to the wounded,
Always doing more than your share.
Who is this guy?

King of WOO, and the both/and
Idea-generator, note-writer, boss.
Friend and mentor, costume-changer,
All while preaching the cross.
Who is this guy?

Pastor by calling, sailor at heart,
Craftsman and fixer of stuff.
Melter of lead, renewer of kitchens,
Snowblower victim – enough is enough!
WHO IS THIS GUY?

Who is this guy?
It’s a fitting question to ask,
Because it was posed many ages ago
Of another man with a similar task.

Healing the blind, cleansing the leper
God in flesh, he too, sailed a boat.
Disciples amazed, and waters stilled,
Trembling they thought him a ghost,
Who is this man?

Savior of the world, mediator for men
Prophet, high priest, and King,
Man of sorrows, wounded and broken,
All for the cost of our sin.
Who is this man?

The link you see is this:
Through 25 hard-fought years,
This guy showed us this man.
One shepherd imitating another.

Doing all things in this man’s name –
Praying, loving, showing up, and caring,
Teaching us to do the same.

For this guy is not original.
No, he loves because he is loved.
He cares because he is cared for.
He preaches for he knows the Word become flesh.

This man has led this guy, and this guy has become like this man.
What we love about this guy is actually this man’s life radiating through.

So we choose to say thanks, and praise be to God
In celebration of your life and work.
Knowing that the One who begun it, will bring it to completion,
When this man returns to the earth.

Thanks for being this guy.

– Mitchel Lee, January 18, 2015

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