Thinking Out Loud

October 23, 2018

Remembering Eugene Peterson

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:28 am

For about 20 minutes yesterday I scrolled through Twitter reading the outpouring of pastors, Christian writers and Christian leaders, along with regular folk sorry to hear that Eugene Peterson has left us for a better place.

Eugene H. Peterson (November 6, 1932 – October 22, 2018) was an American-born clergyman, scholar, author, and poet. He wrote over thirty books, including Gold Medallion Book Award winner The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. – Wikipedia

Relevant Magazine quoted the family statement:

During the previous days, it was apparent that he was navigating the thin and sacred space between earth and heaven. We overheard him speaking to people we can only presume were welcoming him into paradise. There may have even been a time or two when he accessed his Pentecostal roots and spoke in tongues as well.

Among his final words were, “Let’s go.” And his joy: my, oh my; the man remained joyful right up to his blessed end, smiling frequently. In such moments it’s best for all mortal flesh to keep silence. But if you have to say something say this: “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

It feels fitting that his death came on a Monday, the day of the week he always honored as a Sabbath during his years as a pastor. After a lifetime of faithful service to the church—running the race with gusto—it is reassuring to know that Eugene has now entered into the fullness of the Kingdom of God and has been embraced by eternal Sabbath.

Religion News Service interviewed Peterson last Summer about his final book, As Kingfishers Catch Fire:

RNS: I’ve spoken to others who have had robust careers like you’ve had, and by the time they reach your age, they say, “I’m tired.” What about you? Do you feel tired?

EP: No, I don’t feel tired. I just feel like there’s a sense of completion, or maybe satisfaction. I think I’ve done a better job of everything I’d done before in this book. I might do something else, but I don’t think so. These days, I write a lot of letters. I’m still keeping up with people and answering their questions or responding to what they are doing. I think it’s more just a sense of completion.

RNS: You’re 84. You’re approaching the final phase of life. Are you afraid of passing on? What are your feelings about dying?

EP: I guess basically it’s curiosity. I don’t think it’s anything to be afraid of. I have no idea how it’s going to work out. But I’m not afraid, I’ll tell you that. I’ve been with a lot of people who are dying. I think those conversations are some of the best I’ve ever had. These are people who have lived a good life and who have embraced their faith. They’re not afraid…

Yesterday, many were linking to the interview which Peterson did with U2’s Bono about the Psalms. If you haven’t seen it; enjoy the next 20 minutes:

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