Traveling home from the 1996 clergy conference in Atlanta our plane landed in Minneapolis with precious little time to catch our connecting flight home to Pendleton. The 12 of us area pastors ran through the airport like Olympians, sort of. We stopped for no one.
We made it to the gate on the other side of the airport, out of breath, but just in time, as the lady was taking the final boarding passes. Whew, we made it! As the cabin doors closed and we began to taxi out to the runway, Larry Booth asked me, "Where's Rick?"
"I don't know," I said.
Sure enough Rick and Delbert were not on the flight and the plane was not waiting. They missed the flight. They called us on the air phone and let us know what happened. They stopped to buy a souvenir and got left behind.
The two missing shepherds got a ride home on the next flight and a lot of ribbing from their friends. I remember the guy who first noticed they were missing was Larry.
Pastor Larry Booth died of cancer last month. He will be missed. Larry was everything Pendleton needed in a pastor. He loved his wife and family. Larry was kind and loving to people. He prayed for all of us a lot. Larry was a servant leader.
Larry was a bridge builder. His heart of architecture was making sure the many different expressions of the church were united. I'm sure there were flaws, like we all have, but I believe we lost a man whose legacy was the real God, in a real man, in real life, in the real west.
Larry pastored New Hope Community Church for many years. At his funeral, I listened to the leaders, family and friends in the community talk about him. He was a spiritual giant. You can talk about those who call for suicide bombers to destroy life; Larry was the kind of man who would give his life for you.
Tribute is earned. Larry Booth paid the price.
Where's Larry? On this post-resurrection weekend when the eggs of Easter are eaten up in potato salad and the chocolate bunnies are almost gone, there is the real hope of eternal life. Larry Booth is really alive with Jesus in heaven. There is life after the grave.
You didn't miss your flight home, Larry. We noticed.