Evangelical Christian funerals and memorial services can have such an uplifting tone! The obituary for James T. Henderson, 71, said, “a sinner saved by God’s Grace, went to see his Lord on November 7, 2010.” The obit also made the point that his three sons are all devout Christians, and the memorial service would be held at Hoffmantown Church, Albuquerque’s preeminent mega-church.
The service started with Pastor Ken Moore reading the obituary. I was intrigued that Jim Henderson had worked on the Apollo program. He had an advanced degree in computer engineering, and he loved helping people with all aspects of computer use and troubleshooting. He also loved music and played piano, organ and keyboard, and was able to play new tunes by ear.
Peter Strascina, who knew Jim through Connection Class at Hoffmantown Church, said that they had locked horns over which was better, PCs or Macs. After many viruses and malfunctions, Jim finally came around to “see the light” about Mac superiority, the only time, Peter said, that he prevailed on an issue. “Jim had a way of wearing you down until you came to see his side of the conversation,” he explained.
He was described as a genius, always thinking, a poet and prayer leader. He was thrifty, yet generous. Son Christopher said that Dad was a gadget freak from way back, and that “He’s probably over at Moses’ mansion right now fixing his Internet connection.”
Son Kevin said that after Jim died, they tried to hack into his Apple laptop, because they didn’t have his password. But the computer was “protected better than Fort Knox” and a trip to the Apple store would be in their future. (Note to readers – write down your computer and online passwords and put them with your important papers to avoid this kind of scenario!) Kevin also said Jim had an incredible work ethic, always doing something around the house or at work.
Youngest son Kyle described his dad’s devotion to Christ, channeled to serve God by doing things for other people. “I thank my Dad for who I am today, with a knowledge of God and a personal relationship with Jesus.” He also quoted from Psalm 16, “I have the set the Lord always before me…”
Two songs were sung by a soloist with a musical soundtrack during the service – “Shepherd of My Heart” and “How Great Thou Art.”
Pastor Moore preached about Jesus speaking of his own death, as described in Matthew 17. Pastor Moore is an engaging presence, with a booming senatorial voice and a white mustache curled up at the outer tips. In addition to reinforcing belief in Jesus and the great reunion of loved ones to come in heaven, he reinforced the importance of being present for the family in the midst of their loss.
“Your presence here is significant, not only in number, but in spirit. You are giving support to the family. Don’t stop,” he said. The attendees were invited to continue visiting with the family at a reception across the hall from the room in which the service was held.
A lovely photo-montage of Jim’s life was projected on a screen as the service ended. Jim’s body has been cremated and will be interred at a later date. May his family and friends rejoice in his memory.