The Light of Christ is Breaking In

I would not normally make a post like this, so I want to tell you why this is so important for me. I had the honor and privilege to speak at the funeral of Abbott Garn. He was a special young man to me, our family, and our house church for the last ten years. I have had many people tell me that the words I shared helped them take steps at healing and also celebrating his life. If the words God gives me helps us to heal, then I want to share those words with you. But even more, there is the message of Abbott’s life and the Light of Christ that he shared. There is the Light of Christ that Adam and Jackie have demonstrated in their mercy, grace, and love through this difficult week. A person could hear a thousand sermons and yet never see the way of Christ demonstrated as clearly and perfectly as in my dear friends. I am honored to have such beautiful people in my life. And if I can bear witness to this Light through the words that I write, then I want to share them with you. May the Light of Christ continue to break into the darkness. Peace and love my friends… Brandon 

I was at Columbus East High School on Wednesday evening. I was in the cafeteria, sitting at a table by myself, trying to process the last few days and I just sat there, staring out the window and not really looking at anything in particular.

Just staring.

And the more I stared, the more apparent this kind of mesmerizing image became in front of me. There were these really dark clouds that were moving slowly across the sky, across the large window panes in the cafeteria. And piercing directly through the middle of these dark clouds was this strikingly beautiful ray of light that cut through, and even began to illuminate, the center of the clouds.

It was a surreal moment.

These dark, heavy clouds with this magnificent radiance breaking through them was perfectly centered in the windows, almost suspended or in slow motion, and I was completely hypnotized by the imagery, and even more by the meaning. I was completely enveloped in what it was telling me.

A dark cloud cover often seems impermeable, impenetrable and that’s all we see. And sometimes it’s hard to believe that there’s anything but darkness that surrounds us. The clouds block the beauty and the brilliance of the light. But the light is still there, still blazing, still glowing, still illuminating.

The truth is that no matter the darkness or the seemingly endless dark clouds that surround us, the light will always break through.  

The light will always break through.

And I want you to know that this is the perfect imagery from our perspective right now. There is so much darkness, a dark cloud cover is hanging over us, and there doesn’t seem to be any light in the midst of this darkness. It may seem as if it will last forever. We may very well begin to believe that this is the way life will always be.

Our hearts are crushed and broken.  The pain we feel is excruciating and immeasurable.  And the words we have to describe this ache in our souls are completely inadequate.

But even in the darkness and when we feel as if all hope is lost, the radiant Light of Christ begins to break through and illuminate…

Giving us hope that death is not the final victor.

Surprising us with beautiful acts of forgiveness, mercy, and love in the present.

And giving us a glimpse of the new life, the resurrected life, that’s yet to come, but that we can take part in presently.

What darkness seeks to swallow whole, the Light of Christ victoriously overcomes it.

For what death wishes to bring is brokenness, animosity, unforgiveness, division, and hatred. But the beautiful, extravagant Light of Christ always births mercy, grace, forgiveness, healing, restoration, unity, and love.

The Light of Christ is here and it’s breaking in beautifully and victoriously.
In every story told about the other-centered love of Abbott, the Light of Christ is breaking in.

In every memory shared about the kind, giving, and graceful heart of Abbott, the Light of Christ is breaking in.

In every moment you gather in Abbott’s bedroom and talk about how he always stood up for those hurting, or how he made everyone feel special, important, and accepted, the Light of Christ is breaking in.

In every way you pass along memories of Abbott changing the lives of others, putting others before himself, and serving others, the Light of Christ is breaking in.

And in every way that each of you here today have prayed with each other, embraced one another, given so sacrificially, and poured yourselves out in love to Adam, Jackie, and Ella, the Light of Christ is breaking in.

I was standing in the kitchen with Adam and Jackie on Monday morning when Jackie said, “As a parent, you always want your kid to be a good kid- one that makes a difference. We just didn’t know until now just how much he impacted those around him.” And I believe that is an overwhelming testament to Abbott’s life.

The Light of Christ is Breaking In

For the ten years I knew Abbott, I watched the way he served others, how he put others above himself, and how he cared for those who were hurting. He was a loved and essential part of our house church family. In fact, when our house church got together this past Monday we brought all eleven kids into the kitchen and asked them what their favorite memory of Abbott was, to which ten-year old Max Coomes said, “He didn’t always do what he wanted to do, but what everyone else wanted to do.”

The Light of Christ is Breaking In

And Adam and Jackie, the Light of Christ evident in your own lives is what was poured into Abbott. Abbot’s light began with you in the way you live, the way you love.

You are an example to me, and an example to everyone who will hear these words, of how to bless when it would be easier to curse, of how to forgive when it would be easier to blame, of how to love when it would be easier to hate.

The Light of Christ is Breaking In

Through you and then through your children.

And it is beautiful and it is humbling and it is life-changing and it is the Light that you gave to your son.

He was a beautiful human being to all who knew him, to all who will hear about him, and we will never forget him.

We love you Abbott. May your light continue to shine…


We established a scholarship in honor of Abbott and it is ready for donations. Here is the Abbott Forrester Garn Scholarship Fund link through the Heritage Fund. Just go to it and begin typing his name and it will populate. If you would like to send a check made out to the Abbott Garn Scholarship Fund, you may send it to the Heritage Fund at 538 Franklin Street, P.O. Box 1547, Columbus, Indiana 47202.  Your gift is a tax-deductible donation. The first scholarship will go out THIS YEAR to a graduating senior. Thank you for your care, concern, and generosity. And please share this and spread the word.

10 thoughts on “The Light of Christ is Breaking In

  1. Would love to read this, but it says it’s password protected.  Is this a password you’ve created or me?  I’ve not a clue.  Please offer help if you can so I can read it. I’ve been praying for the Garns, the Ryals, who were on the scene, the Abrams, your family, and broadly for all those affected by this tragedy.  I hope y’all are feeling God’s love and comfort. Connie K-B

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

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  2. Very well written and heart felt. I am sure Abbott will be very much missed, but through the resurrection of Christ we know someday we can be with our love ones again. To the Garn family you have my very deepest sympathy.

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  3. Your words ministered to my aching heart. The love and beauty is shining brightly through the darkness. Today was such a testimony to God’s glory. So many small and large ways love, grace and mercy so openly on display today.

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    1. When I was little my grandma used to tell me that when we saw shafts of light breaking through sky like that it was the fingers of God reaching down to earth to caress and comfort those that were hurting the most. I smile and think of my grandma and thank God Everytime I see them. Sometimes I don’t even realize that I needed the touch of God in my day until the moment has passed. Praying for all of you.

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  4. Thank you for reminding us all that God’s prevenient grace is always going before us, to surprise us with His faithful presence and power, even when the clouds are rolling in. Prayers for you and your home church family of faith…

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  5. Brandon, I love your site. I think we know some of the same “Living Room” people. Tell Eric Riddle I said hello.

    I see you are following my “Delight in Disorder” blog. Great! Thanks.

    I have just moved my blog within the website, “Delight in Disorder: Faith & Mental Illness” (delightindisorder.org) I hope you’ll join me there. You can subscribe on the left sidebar under the heading, “More Delight.”

    Blessings,
    Tony

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