Dear Marcia, Cheri, Lynda and Becky:
I learnt a few weeks ago that Pastor Carlin is now with our Lord. I wanted to write and send my deepest, heartfelt condolences. My husband and I were blessed to have known him as our pastor in the ten years that we attended Willingdon Church in the 1990’s. He touched many people with his warmth, charisma, and sense of humor. I remember him as a man of deep faith and prayer. May you be comforted and may it bring a smile to all of you, knowing what a beautiful example of Christ-likeness, he was to those around him. We loved him as our pastor during the years that we were at Willingdon Church.
There are many things I remember from his sermons. Here are two of those precious nuggets. In one sermon, he gave, he talked about what we own in life. He said that we don’t really own anything and no-one owns us as, first and foremost, we belong to Jesus. With a chuckle, he added that new parents might think their babies “belong” to them or perhaps that their babies “own” them, given that no matter how tired, parents get up in the middle of the night and attend to their newborns.
This idea that we don’t own anything, and that all we have actually belongs to God, has helped me get over various “losses” and disappointments in my life - including the sudden passing of my father almost 15 years ago. The unexpected departure felt cruel - almost violent - especially considering the difficult life dad had had, and that he was eagerly anticipating his retirement. In the months of grieving that followed, Pastor Carlin’s sermon came to mind several times. As I thought about the message he had shared all those years ago, I was able to relinquish dad to our Lord and move on to acceptance and gratitude. Dad had been “on loan” to me for 35 years. Now the Lord was calling him home.
The other nugget of encouragement was this one. Pastor Carlin was talking about prayer. At one point in the sermon he said he had no theological proof of this, but he thought of a large room that existed in Heaven, filled floor to ceiling with things that God wanted to give us, but we had never asked for. This image has remained with me all these years. Sometimes when life gets difficult and complicated, and I turn to prayer, unsure of exactly what to ask for, I think of that room. And I am inspired and encouraged. In simple faith, I ask that Thy will be done. I am confident that blessings are on their way - from that room.
We thank the Lord for the many ways Pastor Carlin touched our lives. May God continue to bring you comfort and peace.
With deepest condolences,
Hilda and David