Loss and Hope: Ere the Sun Rises

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Allen Creek Community Church suffered a great loss yesterday. Our Elder, brother, friend and colleague, Wayne Clinton, went home to Jesus at around 12:00 PM. He was with his son Bryan and his wife Konni. Wayne had been battling a type of ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” for several years. 

Loss and Hope: Ere the Sun Rises on Wayne Clinton
Wayne: Elder, Brother, Friend and Colleague

His Impact

It is impossible to adequately describe the impact Wayne has had on the AC3 Community over 25 years. He has served in almost every imaginable role…teacher, preacher, small group leader, youth leader, actor, artist, greeter, evangelist, electrician, carpenter, cook and groundskeeper. Among other things, Wayne traveled to Brazil, opened his home, made thousands of phone calls, spent countless sleepless nights, prayed, studied, visited friends, gave his time, talent and treasure all in an effort to introduce people to the love of Christ.

His Presence

More significant than these roles, however, was Wayne’s presence. He was a pastor; a shepherd. When he showed up, things were going to be ok. Things were going to be exciting, maybe a little weird, maybe even a little unsafe…but Wayne would be holding the door open for God to sweep in and do something. Yet, “pastor” never quite got at the kind of Christian Wayne Clinton was.

As we watched the van carrying his body pull out onto the snowy streets, I was finally able to grasp a word that made sense of how I’ve always seen Wayne. 

He was a King

Not THE King, no. But a king nonetheless. A real king, not a fairy tale, puffed-shirt with a weak chin and too much money. But a rugged man who still possessed grace. A stubborn man with integrity. Sometimes almost naive. A courageous man with compassion…the kind of man you want on your side in a bar fight but also trust to care for your infant child without a second thought. A man who could laugh in the face of danger, but weep over a child’s lost toy. Fair, but mischievous, wise and somehow just the right kind of reckless. Imperfect. Humble. But regal. It finally occurred to me that Wayne had become the kind of man I would follow into battle.

As we said goodbye, standing in the cold, the words of a fictional king suddenly burst into mind: Theoden King of Rohan from “The Lord of the Rings” spoke these words on the day of his death, just before battle. I felt them sputtering out of my mouth as best I could remember them in honor of Wayne: 

“Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden! spear shall be shaken, shield shall be splintered, a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises! Ride now, ride now, ride! Ride for ruin and the world’s ending!”

He Fought for Us

Wayne fought. He fought for all of us whom he loved. He fought ALS. He risked greatly and stared down “ruin and the world’s ending” with regal courage and sobriety. He was kingly; hope always shone, even amidst shadows, and he always pointed to the One True King, his Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. He rode headlong into his fear with the sword of the Spirit, with the shield of faith. and it. was. glorious. 

The Sun Rises

He saw the sun rising: the knowledge that when his eyes closed here, they opened to behold the face of his God. “Ride, Wayne, ride now, ride!”

The grief we feel today is grief for our loss. The hope we feel is the knowledge that Wayne is in the presence of the Lord. The courage we feel down in our bones like a fire, is fanned by a kingly life, well-lived by a good man.

To read blog posts written by Wayne Clinton like Uncertain Days, search Wayne Clinton in our website’s search bars.