Sunday morning as I awoke and got ready for the day, I wondered into the kitchen to get some coffee. The morning paper had been brought in from the mailbox and was laying on the counter. The front page was full of Saturday"s major story, that Rev. Harry Lehotsky had died.
Harry had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer some six months ago, and Saturday it reached it"s conclusion.
While driving to Winnipeg I had considered trying to connect with Harry one last time, but it was to be a full and busy weekend, and by Saturday Harry was gone anyway.
Today, in one hour"s time, the funeral will be held for Harry. There will be some major dignitaries there, as well as many regular people.
You see, Harry was a force for change in the difficult part of Winnipeg in which he lived. Through the past 20 years of ministry Harry saw a lot of hope come to that part of town. And I am thinking about that this morning.
Harry wasn"t an elected official. He wasn"t a power broker or a back room dealer or a high paid official who dictated policy. He was a pastor to regular people in a hard part of town. And he loved the people of that place. He fought for them and defended them. He helped them get clean and sober and helped them get jobs and homes to live in and real lives. He helped them meet Jesus, and for many he was God with skin on.
Today they will bury this regular man. The top leaders of the province and city will be there. There have been bursaries set up in his name. Murals have been painted and streets are being considered for renaming in his honour. All this as a city says thank you and farewell to this pastor who cared. And in a day and age when the high and powerful pastors seem to be falling down, Harry and the fruit of his life are being lifted up.
For me, it"s a reminder that you can see things change when love is applied. Power shifts and history is rewritten when a single person of faith and love enters the picture. Maybe that is a fitting tribute to Harry and his God. That we too can see our community change when we love it. Whatever our community may be. In our houses or schools or offices or neighbourhoods, powerful change can happen if we are willing to risk loving.
Thank you Harry for being willing to pay the price of love.
And thank you God, for Harry.
Peace to his memory.