Remembering Clyde

It was billed as a memorial service “celebrating the life of Clyde Cook.”  It was.  But it was also something much, much more. 

Flowing throughout Saturday’s service like a mighty unseen river was the faithfulness of a living Lord and countless hallelujahs to the Risen One.  At a little over two hours, this celebration of the president emeritus of our alma mater, Biola University, was poignant and powerful.  We sang, applauded, laughed, “amen-ed” and sobbed throughout this profoundly moving and uplifting event, held at our old church (when we lived in CA), the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton.  We are deeply grateful to Biola University for making the service available via live Webcast, enabling those of us not able to attend in person to “attend” on-line.  Thank you!!

Perhaps the most stunning segment of this service was hearing Clyde via audiocast speak about his own death from a heavenly vantage point.  In “vintage Clyde” fashion, the president emeritus spoke fondly, tenderly, victoriously and with good humor about his love for his wife, Anna Bell, his children and grandchildren, Biola, and his new life in glory.  He vividly described the streets of gold, his “posh” accommodations, the celestial choir, and the ceaseless adoration of the Risen One.  Clyde spoke of heaven as a place where there is no sorrow, no pain, and no more tears and urged those in attendance  to “sorrow (for those left behind), but not for me – I’m having the time of my life!”   Quoting D.L. Moody (?), Clyde declared, “You’ve heard that I’m dead now, but don’t you believe it!  I’m more alive now than I ever was!”

We burst into tears at this point.  Again.

Particularly touching was the piano prelude of Amazing Grace played by Clyde’s grandson, and tributes from his grand-daughter, Candace, and daughter, Laura, and son, Craig.  We went to school with Laura and Craig.  Laura spoke about burying Clyde with a pair of chopsticks in his pocket :), and Craig recalled Clyde being named for a river in Scotland well-known for strength, faithfulness, and excellence.

A “short” eulogy (per Clyde’s request) was delivered by Al Sanders of Ambassador Adversting.  Others offering touching tributes included Dr. Barry Corey, president of Biola, Greg Gripentrog, president of OC International, the pastor of Calvary Chapel-Santa Ana, and a benediction from Ed Underwood, pastor of the Church of the Open Door in Glendora.  We especially appreciated the heartfelt, genuine comments from Chuck Swindoll, who spoke from a friendship of 35 years and declared “how much I loved him.”  Swindoll described Clyde as one who did justice, loved mercy, and walked humbly with his God a la Michah 6:8.

Dr. William Lock led wonderful music which included Immortal, Invisible, Be Thou My Vision (a personal favorite), and It is Well With my Soul, which concluded the service.  A Scottish bagpiper piped guests out of the auditorium to Amazing Grace.

Saturday’s service was more than a celebration of Clyde Cook’s life.  It was a celebration of the Savior.  As Swindoll observed (a la Abraham Lincoln), “Now he belongs to the ages.  And to us, and our memories.” 

Most of all and more than anything else, Clyde belonged – and belongs – to the Risen One. 

Alleluia.

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