On Friday, November 9, there were two caskets in the front of the sanctuary of Central Assembly instead of one. But my mother had declared that this funeral was going to be a celebration time, a coronation day for daddy filled with triumph and victory!
And that's just what happened. God allowed that day to be beautiful with the sun shining and the sky bright blue.
Since there were going to be two services, one at 11:00 AM and the other at 1:00 PM, many of the people took the entire day off from work. The first service was for Grandpa Jacobson. He had been ill for so long. He wasn't very well known in the church, but because of the people who took off work, there were about 500 people at his funeral. This was very special to grandma. Grandpa's service was blessed with honor and dignity.
Daddy's funeral was possibly the largest funeral that had been ever held in the State of Idaho with over 3500 people attending. Closed circuit TV was set up in the larger rooms so that people who couldn't get in the main sanctuary could still view the service. People flew in from all over the country. Multitudes wrote to share how much they had been helped through daddy's ministry.
My mother asked the choir and band to sing and play several of daddy's favorite songs. One of the songs, entitled 'The Life Giver', featured my brother, Ted, on the solo. My sister, Marilyn, was also featured on another favorite, 'Jesus the Resurrection.' Both of them received divine strength, and so did I as I directed the choir.
The presence of God was very real as dad's special brother, Reverend Walter Buck, stood up to preach the coronation message. The tribute that uncle Walt paid to his brother through that message was so beautiful that I felt it needed to be included in this book about my father.
"I want you to know that this is holy ground. I do not feel worthy of untying my brother's shoes. I feel very honored at the privilege of standing here today. This platform has become a forum from which one of God's very good friends, and one of His most productive mouthpieces, has declared rich and supernaturally conceived, life-changing truth. You attest to that fact; this church full of people whose lives have been changed thru the life and thru the lips of this low key, unassuming brother of mine, husband of Charm, father of these beautiful young people who have blessed us.
"Thru this beautiful man, God has chosen to touch not only an entire city, but far beyond the borders of this city. The influence of this life, through tapes, publications and platform ministry, across the length and breadth of this nation and around the world is awesome in its outreach. I know that we're not here to make people forget Jesus, for the very thing that epitomized my brother Roland, was the fact that he always wanted to stand aside, and let people see Jesus. We want to do that today, yet it is very difficult for us to talk about Jesus without talking about Roland because they were very close. My brother's life was intertwined with the loveliness of Jesus Christ. I would like to say to you dear friend, that Pastor Roland Buck was somebody extra special, not only to his family, his church, and his community, but I feel that he was very, very special to God. God had chosen to use my brother in such a way that those of us who knew him the best, had to stand in awe. It made me almost a little envious at times.
"I was captivated by a little sentence that Jimmy Swaggart printed in his magazine, The Evangelist, concerning Roland's tapes. 'I listened to the tapes with rapt attention, and a tremendous stirring in my heart. I sensed I was in the presence of Almighty God. This is a beautiful word from one of God's choice servants.' 'The things that happened in this life are probably one of the greatest miracles of the twentieth century!"
"Charles and Frances Hunter, who are here today, made this statement, 'With the boldness of faith we have never seen in anyone, Roland Buck has a total release of freedom in sharing what is happening in his own life.'
"My brother and I had the joy, a year and a half ago, of teaching the Spiritual Emphasis Week at Northwest College. We had a great time. The president of the school, Dew Hearst, who is also here today, came out with a line that I thought was a classic concerning my brother. At the end of that meeting, he looked at the students and said, 'Young people, we've had two very different kinds of people here this week. One of these men has kept us on the edge of our seats, and the other one has kept us on the edge of eternity.'
You know why my brother was keeping people on the edge of eternity? That's where he lived! He was living in two worlds at the same time. He just got close to the other world than this world, and God said, 'There's no point in your going back!"
"I was at my brother's home this morning, and the phone rang. Everybody was busy, so I answered it. It was a lady calling from Marion, Ohio. She said, 'Is Brother Buck there?' I said, 'Well, I'm Brother Buck, but I don't think I'm the one you're looking for.' I've been saying this now for the past year, and I just want you to know I'm happy to take that position, praise God! I told this lady that Roland had been promoted and that he's in another phase of a terrific ministry, and that we were going to have a memorial service for him today. She said, 'I read his book last night, and it changed my life!' This is happening again, and again, and again.
"I know what is going through some of our minds if we're not totally tuned in. We say, 'Well, Pastor Buck was arriving at the very peak of his efficiency, what could God possibly have in mind taking Pastor Buck away from all of this tremendous acceptance? No doubt there could have been other books, and great auditorium meetings.' The human reaction would be to say, 'What a waste! Only sixty-one years of age.'
"Well, I would say, away with that nonsense about waste, dear friends. I feel that the cycle had been completed, and what happened to my brother, Roland, is what should have happened. You say, 'That's crazy!' No, God is perfect in His timing. My brother lived right up to the 'enth' degree until the Lord took him home. He was sitting in his office sharing Jesus with a lady. She was delivered. She was rejoicing in the Lord. He told her, 'Why don't you just look up now, and smile at Jesus.' Then he sat back and smiled, and his two angel friends came and said, 'Now come on, let's get on to phase two!'
"The book has been written and is well launched. The message is girding the globe. The plan is complete as far as this phase of life is concerned, and Roland on Tuesday afternoon, went on to God's next development.
"I would like to say that I'm so delighted that before the Lord took him home, Roland received from his peers the recognition that was long overdue. Roland served in a rather quiet place for many years just doing his thing. And I'm thankful that the world finally discovered your pastor. God knew about him all the time. But he suddenly pulled the curtain aside, and a ministry evolved and was revealed that touched the multitudes.
"I mingled around your foyer for about thirty or forty minutes today, and I didn't find very many defeated people. I feel that there's not very much gloom in the camp, because God doeth all things well! He's on the throne!
"Our hearts ache, because we're human. I think there's room for tears. We would be less than human if there were no tears. God made us so we could cry. That's a wholesome thing. It's cleansing for the soul. When we think of the empty chair, and the pulpit. When we think of the unoccupied counseling room, the shock of bereavement, as we meditate on the suddenness of his going, there are going to be some moments where we're going to hurt. I hurt, because Roland and I were not only brothers, we were good friends. I have lost a friend as well as a brother. I have lost a confidant. I have lost a man whom I tried almost everything I ever did on for size to see how he would react. He reacted violently to some of the things I tried on him incidentally.
"When we think objectively, we rise above this human reasoning, and we see the wonderful pattern of God for His children. I read in Psalm 116:15, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." This doesn't mean that God is anxious to end the life of those who serve Him. The word precious means that He places a high value on them. He will suffer none of those who are living close to Him to die needlessly. In fact, so precious is their death, that He watches over them every moment of every day to prevent it! We are living, not charmed lives, but immortal lives until our work is done. I feel that Pastor Buck was immortal until his work was done, and then He moved into Glorious Eternal Immortality.
"Roland was so steady, strong, and stable that we kind of thought that if anything happens we can put another tube in and he'll just go on forever. But our times are in God's hands, and Roland's times were in His hands. God had scheduled every moment of Roland's life. He knew all about Tuesday of this week, years and years ago.
"When we walk with Christ and we're led by His Spirit, we posses His life, until our appointed time comes, we can say to epidemic, or danger, or to whatever would cast a shadow on our lives, 'You have no power against me except it was given you of God!'
"I asked Roland one day, 'How in the world do you keep going like you do?' He said, 'Well, the Lord kind of moved my heart over to one side, and connected me with His big heart.' I believe that too!
"I was in the Evangel Bookstore in Spokane, and one by one all the personnel of that store who have met Roland, and loved him, came by and said that they were sorry, and hurt with me. I thanked each one of them, as they came. While they were coming and talking with me, right beside was a table stacked with 200 books entitled, Angels on Assignment, the Holy Spirit whispered to me that "Though he is dead, in our human parlance yet he speaketh!'
"And Roland's voice is being heard again, and again, and again. You know the word the Holy Spirit dropped in my heart was that his ministry, rather than dying, is exploding, and only God knows the end result.
"For twenty years Roland served his church. It was a good normal growth. God's presence was real; people found the Lord. But then something really happened. All the time there were indications of a special supernatural touch.
"I remember one time in your old building, on a Sunday, when I preached for Rol. He nudged me and said, 'See that couple over there? Remind me to tell you about them after church.' God had revealed these people to him before the service one morning. He told Roland to 'Go to the foyer, they're coming in about now, so go meet them and bring them in your office. They're ready right now to accept Jesus.' My brother met these people, and took them in the office, and led them to the Lord. He said, 'I walked into my pulpit ten feet tall that morning, realizing that I wasn't doing this alone, but God cares about people.' That was the theme of his life.
"I encourage you, dear friends, if you haven't met Christ, I know what Roland would want you to do. His whole life was lived to touch people and bring them into the kingdom. I challenge you to make sure that you are keeping eternal values in view."
At the close of my uncle's remarks, the Singing Ambassadors once again sang the beautiful song of victory, "The Hallelujah Chorus." The choir was more anointed this time than they were when they had sung it the year before for the heavenly visitor. I personally felt the presence of God in the place, and I felt that thousands of angels attended my father's coronation service.
Usually when a funeral service is over, the people file by the casket, and family is the last, after everyone else has gone.
My mother shares: "As the last strains of the 'Hallelujah Chorus' ended in a note of triumph, the casket was opened and it was time for our precious people to say goodbye to their pastor and friend. I realized that they were like sheep without their shepherd. They needed comfort and encouragement. So I stood to my feet, walked over to stand beside my brother-in- law, Walter Buck, who had ministered. Then my children came and stood with me. As our congregation, friends from the neighborhood and around the nation, and those who had been helped by Pastor Buck walked by, we shared in mutual sorrow and the Lord Jesus wrapped us in His love."
Many people were challenged that morning to help carry on the message of how much God loves people, and to share the importance of the sacrifice of Jesus.
We heard some people say "We have lost Pastor Buck!" The answer comes ringing back loud and clear, "We haven't lost Pastor Buck. We know right where he is!"