On Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, the funeral of Ray Arrington, a fellow church member of Pleasant Green Baptist Church convened. Formally, it is referred to as a funeral, but in actuality it was what many in Christendom call a “home-going” service, and is known as such because of one’s relationship with Jesus Christ, and the life the individual lived in front of others. The insinuation is that the individual who has died has passed on from this life and onto glory with the Lord, and oh, what a wonderful home-going Ray’s was. Many people came from near and far, to celebrate the life and legacy of brother Ray, because he was simply a special person.
Ray was a retired carpenter from the Carpenters Local #437, and a 1972 graduate of Portsmouth High School, in which a few of members from that class shared a portion of their memories about Ray and how he impacted their lives, and did so in such a way that moved the audience. Ray was a member of Trinity Masonic Lodge #9, the senior group, ‘Alive and Kicking,’ and always involved with efforts at his home church.
Ray’s daughter, Erica Holmes of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, formerly of Columbus and I conversed about just how powerfully God had worked in Ray’s life. For you see, though he was raised by his parents to follow Jesus Christ, as many of us, as he grew older, Ray strayed from biblical principles, and biblical living and started “doing his own thing” if you will. As a result of this, Ray found himself struggling with a drug addiction that had him bound. Consequently, one day, Ray listened to the voice of God who was calling him back to a personal relationship with him.
He answered the call, and his life went through such an amazing transformation that one could only say, undoubtedly, it was the miraculous hand of God and God alone. Once Ray’s faith and obedience to God’s word was restored, he continued to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I will always remember him coming into church, a smile on his face, obvious joy in his heart ready to worship the Lord. Ray passed away in Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Hospice facility, on Tuesday, Oct. 18, but until the day he closed his eyes for one last time on this side of the earth, his faith in God never failed. I will always remember when my husband and I would visit him in the hospital, and how he would say, “My faith in God is still strong. My faith has not failed.” Even in the midst of sickness and pain his faith remained. As myself, brother Ray was also an avid Dallas Cowboys fan. I will miss cheering for our Cowboys with him, but most of all, I will miss his deep joy for Jesus, and willingness to serve him despite the challenges in his health that God allowed.
The resounding thought about Ray’s life spoken at the home-going service was his exemplary faith, and sincere delight in following God, and living a Christian life. He never looked back, but always pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus., As a result, his life has been such a tremendous blessing to so many. Rest in peace brother Ray. We will see you on the other side.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-464-3862, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.