After holding out for a year, I gave in and started attending a lively Episcopalian church - and was then invited to join two remarkable men as a house-mate.
Greg Jackson and David Lumsdaine welcomed me into so much more than just the appartment they shared - they welcomed me into their lives and into community. Greg was at that time a research engineer at a cutting edge tech start-up while David was a professor in the International Relations department at Yale.
It was thus with a kick in the gut to get emails from Greg over the last few days telling about David's heart attack last week and his hospitalisation in a critical condition. We and many of David's friends around the world participated in a prayer vigil that his church organised.
Then this morning's email - David has left this world to be with Jesus.
To the folks that Greg had sent out the updates I wrote this short note:
It has been a bitter-sweet opportunity for us to be part of the company of saints as we remembered and prayed for David in his last hours of this life.
Bitter because death remains a terrible loss and void - the separation of body from soul/spirit, and the separation of a dear person from the community of the living is always hard.
Sweet because we were united in spirit across the continents in prayer. Our voices rose together as incense before the throne of our loving Lord Jesus. Sweet because of the memories of dear David. The intricate almost mandala-like designs he used to make. His intellectual and spiritual passion. The depth of his God-given love for so many. The sheer imposing physical presence of the man. The personal love for me and Sheba - shown when he joined Greg and Karin for a trip out to India to see us. And so many other facets of David. All these swirled to mind with the news of him being in a restricted state - there in the hospital - on life support.
But now the sweetness can burst forth into fruit. We know that he will not return to us - rather we will go to be with him. And we will go to be with David in the presence of our living Lord Jesus. What a glorious hope we have. What joy we have for David who is already tasting the fullness of life in the fullness of time.
Bless the Lord oh my soul.
love from Andi, Sheba, Asha and Enoch
Gordon College - where David was a well-loved professor (how could he not be?) - made the following announcement about David's passing on to glory.
The Gordon College community grieves the loss of Professor David Lumsdaine, who passed away this morning, February 27, from complications following a heart attack.
As a member of the Political Science Department, Dr. Lumsdaine taught a variety of courses with specialization in international relations and foreign policy. His classes emphasized student participation and writing, and students often spoke with deep appreciation for this man who was a beloved professor and mentor to so many.
"David Lumsdaine was dearly beloved by his students and colleagues," says Ruth Melkonian-Hoover, associate professor of political science, and department chair. "He passionately loved God, others, and God’s world, and this came through in everything he did. He had a brilliant mind and elected to invest himself first and foremost in remarkable ways in our student’s lives. We have been richly blessed by him, and his passing represents a tremendous loss to our department and to all of us in the Gordon community."
He was a regular discussant at the Jeruslem and Athens Forum, one of Gordon's honors programs. "For you," writes Ryan Groff, JAF program coordinator, "there was life to be found in ancient texts, and our cohorts kindled their own fascination with the life of the mind and Christian faith by reading at your side such great works as St. Athanasius's 'On the Incarnation.' We will forever miss your evident and deeply felt appreciation for the beauty of Christian thought and life."
Prior to joining the Gordon faculty in 2007, Dr Lumsdaine—who held degrees in political science, engineering and mathematics—taught at Wheaton College, Yale University, Seoul National University and the Korea Development Institute in Seoul, one of the most prominent "think tanks" and educational institutions in that country.
He was also a consultant and lecturer at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, where he mentored many graduate students.
His book Evangelical Christianity and Democracy in Asia (Oxford, 2009) continued earlier work on how beliefs and values shape politics. He had been working on a sabbatical project examining the role of ideas in shaping the international political system, and the effect of domestic political values and practice on international politics.
Dr. Lumsdaine was an active and beloved member of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Danvers, Massachusetts. "We will miss him, many of us deeply so," says the Rev. Timothy Clayton, rector of Christ the Redeemer. "He was a dear and enthusiastic brother and a leader in our family of faith, a member of the vestry."
He was predeceased by his parents and is survived by two brothers, John Lumsdaine and Peter Lumsdaine.
A funeral service, open to the community, will be held at Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Danvers, MA, on Saturday, March 2, at 11 a.m.