United States Senator John McCain passed away this weekend. As a pastor who wants to focus on Jesus, I usually don’t say too much about politics and politicians. Nevertheless, I was deeply moved when I heard the news. I didn’t agree with him on all things, but I deeply respected him as a man who lived by his convictions and stated them when they were popular and when they were not. The fact that even his political enemies considered him a friend says a lot about the type of man that he was.
I was even more moved when I read the words that his daughter, Meghan McCain, penned for her father at his passing. I don’t know that I have ever read a better tribute. If you have not read them, let me offer them to you in their entirety.
My father, United States Senator John Sidney McCain III, departed this life today.
I was with my father at his end, as he was with me in the beginning. In the thirty-three years we shared together, he raised me, taught me, corrected me, comforted me, encouraged me, and supported me in all things. He loved me, and I loved him. He taught me how to live. His love and his care, ever present, always unfailing, took me from a girl to a woman—and he showed me what it is to be a man.
All that I am is thanks to him. Now that he is gone, the task of my lifetime is to live up to his example, his expectations, and his love.
My father’s passing comes with sorrow and grief for me, for my mother, for my brothers, and for my sisters. He was a great fire who burned bright, and we lived in his light and warmth for so very long. We know that his flame lives on, in each of us. The days and years to come will not be the same without my dad—but they will be good days, filled with life and love, because of the example he lived for us.
Your prayers, for his soul and for his family, are sincerely appreciated.
My father is gone, and I miss him as only an adoring daughter can. But in this loss, and in this sorrow, I take comfort in this: John McCain, hero of the republic and to his little girl, wakes today to something more glorious than anything on this earth. Today the warrior enters his true and eternal life, greeted by those who have gone before him, rising to meet the Author of All things:
“The dream is ended; this is the morning.”
Did you catch the quotation at the end of her words? They are part of the final paragraph in C.S. Lewis’ “The Last Battle,” the last book in his “Chronicles of Narnia,” undoubtedly, my favorite writings (other than the Bible) of all times.
In the closing, the lion Aslan (representing Jesus,) says to those who are now in heaven:
Your father and mother and all of you are—as you used to call it in the Shadowlands—dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.
And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
That’s the hope and the ending—which is really the beginning—of every believer in Jesus Christ. We put our faith in God and in Jesus and we do our best in this life, only to find out that this life is only the title page to real life.
We have much to live for in this life, and it is a great adventure.
But the greatest adventure will be the one we experience on the other side.