I first met Warren a couple years ago, when he was volunteering in our church's ministry to the homeless and low-income of the Key Peninsula. He'd had a rough life, made some bad decisions, but was working to get his life back together.
Last year, on a walk with some friends around the town of Home, we saw Warren sitting out on his front porch in the sun; we had a good talk about the warm weather and God's goodness to us all.
He came to our Christmas Eve service this last December. One of our 'festive' pieces was a dramatic reenactment of the 12 Days of Christmas. Warren made a joyous and hilarious Partridge in a Pear Tree. 12 times, he played that partridge, as we counted down each of the days.
A few weeks ago he came to our church and asked for prayer; he'd had heart surgery and wasn't feeling well, wasn't recovering. So Howard and I prayed over him, anointing him with oil.
Shortly thereafter, he collapsed, and was rushed to the hospital. He's been there, in a coma, ever since. (editor's note: don't try to draw any conclusions from that sequence about the dangers of letting me pray for you)
This morning his son called, and let us know they expect Warren to die today. In the next few hours, most likely. So a few of our people are heading up there to be by his side, to pray with him as he leaves this earth and goes to be with the Lord.
It always amazes me how quickly some people go; full of life and energy one minute, gone the next. I expected Warren to stick around for quite a bit longer. But it seems life caught up to him; perhaps some of his old mistakes wore his body down too much. But Warren loved people, he loved serving others, and he loved the Lord, so I don't doubt that paradise awaits him, a place where all those old mistakes are washed away, where redemption replaces brokenness.
Our prayers are with Warren and his family and community today.