Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In Memory of My Brother

Peter Anthony Mitchell
July 29 1956 - June 12 2011

There are many things we could say about Peter. He was a character, to be sure. He loved a good joke, was a whiz at Scrabble and Geography, and loved watching Hockey Night in Canada. He loved his kids, and he loved his brothers and sisters. He had many struggles, to be sure, throughout his life, and didn't make the best choices many times. We know that many people loved him, prayed for him, and tried to help him to overcome his battles. It's hard to believe we won't be hearing from him again, or seeing him.Those of us who knew and loved him will cherish his memory in our hearts. We thank God for the grace that He gave to Peter during his lifetime.

When a loved one dies, it is such a final thing. They are no longer living, breathing, and walking among us. We no longer hear their voice, or see them, or include them in our plans. It is a great sense of loss. It is natural to wonder where they are now. Some people might look at Peter's life and think that perhaps he didn't go to heaven. After all, he broke the law. He spent time in jail. He drank too much, and didn't live quite the morally upstanding life that many others have. Still, others might look at his life, his struggles, and conclude that surely God would take pity, and take him to Heaven. But the reality is that it doesn't work either of those ways. The Bible says that there is no one who is righteous, or good, and that we have all sinned. Every one of us. God is a holy God, and He hates sin. Not one of us can earn His favor, or Heaven, by our own merits. We need a Saviour, we need Jesus Christ. All of us. Not just the Peters of this world, the ones with deep rooted struggles, but even the socially acceptable, kind hearted, morally upright people. Apart from turning from our sins and turning to God, apart from trusting in Jesus Christ to save us, none of us has any hope, we all stand condemned.

God offers hope. Those of us who remain here have a hope. The life we live on earth is so short, so temporary, but there is an eternity that awaits each of us. God speaks hope to us in the Bible, and has some wonderful things to say:

"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'for we also are His children.' Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 18:24-31)

"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)

Peter, you were loved.


Colleen said...

This is a beautiful tribute to the life of your brother, Peter. His life taught many of us that in spite of the constant pull of the 'cares and concerns of this world', the pitfalls can be much more insidious than many of us see in our day to day lives.

Many of us are familiar with the 'categorizing' of sin to make ourselves seem more acceptable to one another, (a decidedly religious endeavor) although we would hardly dare to admit it publicly. The idea that anything other than the unmerited ransom of our lives by a loving, perfect Creator and Christ, His Son, is a dangerous thought to entertain. It is a lie to think that we're any better, with our inner struggle with 'hidden sins' (really now, how absurd to even imagine that anything is hidden from our Creator) than Peter was with his more public struggles with the battles he faced on a regular basis. He was a character and irascible but also cherished and loved.

Our preconceived notions of a 'worthy' life (again, how must God shake His glorious head at our musings....)must be cast aside when we remember that Peter, in all his glorious humanity, is and was no less worthy of grace than you and I. The ground at the cross is level and none of us must think ourselves exempt from the stark fact that "apart from turning from our sins and turning to God, apart from trusting in Jesus Christ to save us, none of us has any hope, we all stand condemned."

As you stated so eloquently, Maureen, God offers all of us regardless of our station in life. We can surmise about Peter’s current standing with God, but I do believe the enemy would only use such musings to torture us with the 'unknown'. He’s a master of the tormenting thoughts that he plants in our troubled minds and he wields that weapon so well in these types of circumstances...he has centuries of practice, let’s not forget. The fertile field of our mind would much better be utilized to praise God for having known Peter Mitchell as family or friend and asking God to change us by the lessons gleaned from that experience.

As long as we live, there is that hope of deliverance and freedom and while we mourn Peter’s passing today, God offers the balm of Gilead and rest in Him.

And yes, Peter, you were loved.

Suppresst said...

Very sorry about your loss.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Maureen said...

Dear Anonymous, you are right, no mention of his wife. My oversight which I realized too late. I know that he did love his wife very much, in spite of his inability to be the husband that he wanted to be. I know that this caused him sorrow. His wife and children were of utmost importance in his life, and I thank God that he had them for those years. He was proud of them.

Maureen said...

Dear Colleen, thank you for your kind and insightful words. I was never more aware of the truth of this saying "there but for the grace of God go I" than I have been since Peter's death. Though it was painful to know and love him, he did teach us many things, and I am grateful to have had him in my life.

Maureen said...

Bill, thank you for your kind words. It is hard to lose a brother.

At Heart Level said...

Dear Maureen
So sorry to hear of the loss of your brother. No matter what, he was loved and precious to the Lord. I pray for you to be surrounded by the presence of the Holy Spirit at this time.
Michele D.

Ike said...

One drop of the Lord Jesus Christs' blood is enough to save the whole world. Why? Because of who He is! I think "we" will be surprized, who is- and isn't- in heaven.
My prayers to you and your family.

covnitkepr1 said...

Very thoughtful words for your brother whom you loved very much.

Earthly goodbyes are so hard but the thought of the heavenly hellos seems to help.

covnitkepr1 said...

Oh and ...I’ve been following and enjoying your blog for a while now and would like to invite you to visit and perhaps follow me back. Sorry I took so long for the invitation.

Anonymous said...

Miss him more & more each day, if thats even possible.

Anonymous said...

I agree his wife should of been included in this tribute. Although im sure it was not intential to leave her out. I wonder if theres a possibility you could edit it? And seeing as his family was so very important to him i feel you should of went into a bit more depth into that part of his life.

But putting these things aside, you did a lovely job Maureen. Peter would be proud and so happy knowing everyone could connect and read about him. As he sure loved attention. RIP & God bless his soul.

Maureen said...

Dear Anonymous, just to clarify about this post. It was originally just some thoughts that I had scribbled down and sent to my sister, who had planned to write a eulogy for Peter. Unfortunately,due to circumstances that arose, she was unable to do so, and so instead simply printed off the email I had sent her, and this was what was read at his funeral. Hence the oversight. I did think of editing the piece, but decided that I wanted to write what others had heard at the service, flawed though it may be.

Also, both my sister and I did not intend it to be a "eulogy" in the usual sense of the word. We wanted instead to give a message of the hope that is in Christ, and not focus so much on Peter or his life. Those of us that knew and loved Peter are aware of his good points and failings. We celebrate his life, and mourn his passing. But most importantly, we all, those that knew him and those that did not, share the need of a Saviour. I'm certain that Peter, from his vantage point of having passed on from this life, would agree that to make much of his own life in the usual "eulogy", and little of the hope of eternal life that is found only in Christ, would have been wrong. Not everyone will agree with this viewpoint, but there it is, nonetheless. I prefer, and my sister prefers, to focus on things of eternal significance, and not dwell overmuch on sentiment, for "it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgement" (Hebrews 9:27).