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Friday, October 07, 2005

Remembering Frank Means

The following article is the message from the Memorial Service conducted today, October 7, at Peoria Church, for Frank Means. Frank was a wonderful and unique individual.

I'm posting this primarily for those in the Church family who were unable to attend the service. I also hope that it may help those who didn't know Frank to see just a little bit into his wit anc character.

The message begins here:
For most of the 5th century before Christ, the noted Greek historian Herodotus collected histories and records of kingdoms and cultures from the Black Sea coast of Asia Minor through Greece and Macedonia, finally settling for the last of his days in southern Italy. It was there that he wrote The Suda, a history that became the foundation for most secular histories of the western world.

Like many histories, the roots of Herodotus’ work are found in major wars and conflicts of the era, in his case the great Persian Wars. One of the most noted historical highlights of those wars was the defeat of the massive Persian naval fleet in a battle near the Aegean island of Salamis. The imperial fleet was brought low by a collection of ships from the Greek city-states.

The Persian emperor Xerxes sent news of his defeat to his waiting generals back in Persia through one of his own most enduring legacies – a series of couriers, each stationed a day’s journey by horseback from the other. These couriers were ever diligent in their service of emperor and empire. Their unflagging sense of duty moved Herodotus to note them in his famous history with these words:

“Neither rain nor sleet nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from their appointed rounds.”

As a retired mail carrier, Frank was the embodiment of Herodotus’ famous words.Today we are assembled to remember the legacy of this courier who was ever diligent in his service of home and country, of his fellow man and God.

It is no understatement that Frank’s great affection for Joleen, Marcia, and Shawn was boundless. Frank was not much for small talk until the subject of his family came up. It seemed he had a limitless tolerance for Joleen’s latest garage sale adventure or bargain hunt. Marcia and Shawn were the joys of his life, and nothing brightened Frank’s face more than to talk about his grandchildren. When you get a chance to look at the pictures of Frank with his family, you will see in his laughter the deep springs love for his family.

King David wrote these words in Psalm 116:15: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” I have often wondered what he meant by that, but I have come to this conclusion: No matter how much we love someone in this life, God’s love for each of us is immeasurable and far-surpassing our love for each other. In His time, God brings us to Himself, an act of love that causes us grief here, but precious joy in Heaven.

In serving his country, Frank was a patriot in the truest sense of the word. There are no monuments to Frank, and I don’t think he’d want one. He was at the heart of what ‘duty to country’ is all about. He was an Army regular, doing his part to serve his nation. No aspirations to heroism, Frank served humbly and faithfully.

Again, Frank’s memory calls to mind the words of St. Peter, who wrote, “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”

Frank was a true friend to his fellow man, and I count it a privilege to have been one of the many who counted Frank as a friend. You always knew where you stood with Frank. Shortly after I came to this Church as pastor, I approached Frank about a concern. He was the chairman of the trustees and I had a question about the grounds.

“I was just wondering,” I asked, “why don’t we have any flowers out around the Church sign or up here around the door?”

Frank looked me straight in the eye and said, “I don’t like flowers.”

And that was it. From that point on, it seemed that Frank and I understood each other. I learned quickly that depending on where you stood with Frank, he was either ‘solid as a rock’ or ‘stubborn as a mule.’

But isn’t that what real relationships are about? Honesty. Straightforwardness. Truth. Those of us who knew Frank as a friend, also know the truth of Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Finally, Frank leaves the legacy of a servant of God. Never one to demonstrate his religion emotionally or with a lot of words, Frank lived the admonition of St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel everywhere you go, and, when necessary, use words.” Frank may not have sung the loudest in Church, but he was dependable when someone was in need. Frank didn’t preach from the pulpit, but he taught his family that God is real. Frank’s faith was not for show, but it was real, even as he prayed to God in his final weeks on earth. Frank was a baptized member and regular communicant at the Lord’s Supper. He was faithful in his attendance and invaluable in his service as trustee and jack-of-all-trades. Peoria Church is at a great loss without him.

“Neither rain nor sleet nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from their appointed rounds.” This courier has finished his appointed rounds. May he rest in peace. Amen.


Kim said...

I'm sure it was a very nice, if not solemn, service. Your memorial message is absolutely wonderful. I believe you have written right by Frank. We will miss even though we didn't know him well.

Mimi said...

May his Memory be Eternal.