I spent yesterday in the mountains for North Georgia at Fred Craddock’s funeral. As Sharon Watkins wrote, “it’s hard to imagine the Disciples without Fred Craddock.” So true and evidenced by the large number of people who packed into the Sanctuary at Cherry Log Christian Church to celebrate his life.
The service was expertly crafted and led by Dr. Tom Long, one of my professors at Candler and one for whom Fred had been a mentor. Fred’s life was reflected in the service. It was a good reminder that not only was Fred a beloved saint of the church, but he was also a husband, father, grandfather, and friend. As you might imagine, there were lots of stories. Tom Long did a wonderful job with a funeral sermon that wasn’t really supposed to be a funeral sermon. In some ways it brought me back to why I fell in love with the craft of preaching in the first place. There was lots of singing, which had been Fred’s desire. As always with anything involving Dr. Craddock, the Gospel was proclaimed. There were people there whose names many would recognize and even more people whose names very few would recognize. Fred always had a way of bringing people together.
Driving home, I begin to think about how perfect the service had been in honoring Fred’s life. There wasn’t a lot of pomp and circumstance. Pretty simple and straightforward, yet powerful, moving, inspiring, and enlightening all at the same time. Much like Rev. Dr. Fred Craddock himself.