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Today I witnessed what a funeral service should be. I left that service celebrating the life of a wonderful man of God. We shared funny stories, touching memories, and a sense of honor for a man who faithfully humbled himself and served in any capacity needed. I hate funerals. I hate the dismal feelings. I hate wondering if the family feels hopeless. I hate wincing at the words of the pastor as he shares some good intentioned words of pathetic inspiration and "comfort." To put it plainly, I hate it when people put on airs for anything, including honoring and remembering the dead. I couldn't believe it when I heard earlier this week that Mike had died. I thought the person who told me was lying. My heart felt like it was being squeezed between icy, thin fingers. It felt to me like the world had lost a brilliant shining light, and was now all the more dingy, dismal, and hopelessly in despair. I entertained the idea that the enemy had won a major battle, robbing all of us of such a man. I thought it was a crime that he of all people should lose his life. I have so much to learn. All those passages of Scripture you memorize over the years do little good if they have not become alive inside your being. Here was a man who literally welcomed a whole new generation of people into our church with his welcoming smile and affirming hugs. I can't tell you how many Sundays I was comforted by a big hand on my shoulder - Mike Cordova waiting to give me a hug and show me he was glad I was here. Just this past Sunday, in the massive new church building, he walked by and gave me a hug. It's not that it fills the needs left from my parents. But it's a feeling of being welcome and belonging that is comforting despite its subtlety. Week by week, month by month, year by year, he made me and hundreds of others believe that kindness can faithfully exist within the masculine heart. Services were held today, June 30, 2006, at the City Life Center of Shady Grove Church in Grand Prairie, Texas. It was a remarkable experience. I cried my eyes out. So many stories of love. People rescued from fire, souls brought to Jesus, children treated with love, and visitors greeted with warm respect. I never truly before believed that a man's life could have as great or greater impact upon the world after death. But now I know that despite our feeble attempts to explain God or excuse His Will, I have now experienced the life and death of a man ministering to thousands. May God grant me the grace and humility to be like Mike Cordova. And may the Lord richly bless and comfort Cass Cordova and family.