I want to be like Wally

1 Chronicles 16:10 (NIV)
10 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Wally has gone home to rejoice in the presence of the Lord and the world is less for his leaving. He lived much of his later life rejoicing in the Lord. As a teacher, he knew how to study, and how to get people to study the words and life of Christ. He brought the words home to the lives of people in a way that just beautiful. He was my partner in the jail ministry and I was constantly amazed at how he would draw the men into conversation, into discussion, into questioning their life path, and quickly getting them onto a new path seeking the Lord and a life of hope. He walked with them through the difficult times of living life on life’s terms, pulling them back from the brink when he had to while at the same time letting them fail forward. He was special. I want to be like Wally.

His father and his great aunt ran the Marcy Center in Chicago and were committed to social justice. Wally followed that path, and though he didn’t start down that path early in his life, he certainly found it and gave it a great hike. His love of life and of others is a model we would all do well to emulate. I want to be like Wally.

Matthew 7:9 (NIV)
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?”

It’s a stupid question in theory, yet here we stand with the reality that far to many people give their child a stone. Give their neighbor a stone. Give their stranger a stone. We hide in the security of our security and wealth, we give our kids electronic this and that to shut them up instead of engaging, molding, correcting, guiding. We don’t know our neighbors and keep our blinds drawn closed and the TV on. We walk by the hungry in disgust. It’s easier that way, less of a hassle.

Wally wasn’t like that at all. He’d give bread, butter, meat, cheese, tomato, lettuce, cake, ice cream, plus three sides to the hungry, both the spiritually hungry and the just plain hungry. I want to be like Wally.

Dude, I’m gonna miss you and your crazy humor. I’m gonna miss your love of others and deep, deep compassion born out of understanding and love. I’m gonna miss your purity and flaws. I’m gonna miss your wisdom, kind words, and support. I, along with the rest of the world, am gonna miss you.

Here’s is his story


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