V. Raymond Edman was his proper name.
But he had lots of other names given to him because of his kindly manner.
Prexy was the one I remember - quite a name for the President/Chancellor of a presigious college.
For years he had been involved in taking the good news about Jesus to people in Ethiopia.
His devotional writings had stirred the hearts of many.
His ability to reach out simply and love people. had brought deep impact to many.
And recently he had suffered with heart problems.
But "recovering" was the word now and it was announced the he would be back to speak in the Wheaton College chapel one more time.
I remember the day we all entered the chapel with expectations as to what we would hear.
When Prexy was introduced he came quietly to the podium.
He spoke that day from the Psalms - the theme being "In the Presence of the King."
Then he illustrated the theme by talking about what he experienced when entering Emperor Haillee Sellasie's throne room....the protocal, the attire, the mannerisms...and the overwhelming sense of awe....to be in the presence of a "king."
He concluded quietly....
stepping back one pace...
And then he fell backwards
and was gone.
"Gone," I say....not "dead." But gone into the Presence of The King.
He had lived his life so close...and now just a small step backwards took him into The Presence forever.
The auditorium was hushed. Some wept quietly. Others wrote notes...what did he say? What was God saying to me in this?
Some day in our own way, we will all take "a small step backwards" - for we are all living that close to the edge of eternity.
For those who have given their lives over to Jesus and asked Him to partner with them on the journey called life - it will be the fulfillment of the promise: "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."
May we live today, ready to go.
May we live - in and for - The Presence.