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Glimpsing Jesus in Robert Clark

I think it’s the most compelling thing I’ve ever seen at a celebration of life service. When faced with choosing a person to pray his funeral-ending prayer (commending his soul to heaven) my friend Robert Clark chose Lenora—a lady who “worked his laneway”. For years Lenora collected cans and recyclables from Robert’s back alley, and she became his friend, and he chose her.

When Lenora stepped up to the mic you could tell she’d lived a difficult life. The first words out of her mouth were, “Robert wouldn’t recognize me all dressed up like this.”

Then she told stories… about how Robert would always talk to her, make room for her, and remember her life. One of the most beautiful stories was about the day, after she had saved up $10,000 for the purchase of a 'new' car, she drove that car down Robert’s alley. She said that Robert’s eyes were glistening, “He was almost in tears.”

Those tears were evidence of the heart of God in Robert Clark.

When Lenora prayed her very eloquent prayer of commendation, I was transfixed. While her words were beautiful, the fact that it was her sharing them, was deeply moving. That this was even happening was incredible!

For whom of us would this even be possible?

Who of us knows the can-collector in their alley this well?

Who of us loves them this well?

And who of us would ever invite them to their funeral to share such penultimate words?

Throughout the service many stories were shared about how Robert Clark saw unseen people. But with Lenora, she was the story—the embodiment of what the love of Christ, lived out through one man's life, would look like. Lenora is the kind of person Jesus sees, invites, and gives voice to.

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