What is it like to be in the same family with a man who has actually talked with the angel of the Lord, Gabriel, and Michael, the great archangel? A man who has talked face to face with Jesus? My dad was a wonderful man, but he was very human. In fact the closer he got to heaven, the more his humanity seemed in evidence. He still loved to watch boxing, and we all used to smile watching our father enjoying boxing matches on TV. He would unconsciously jab and duck with the boxers in the ring. He enjoyed a good game of golf, although his busy schedule made it increasingly difficult to play. He loved sports on TV, especially football. Dad was very competitive and hated losing any kind of game, especially to his kids. Our family would joyously and loudly "argue' different points of games with dad, knowing that we could never win the argument.
Toward the last, mom was alone a lot because of the urgency he felt to share the message God had given him. But even with his incredible schedule, they always had a lot of fun together, and were truly sweethearts. Dad was a relaxed Christian, who knew that God loved him as he was. He did not come across to anyone as a pious person. He was himself, and felt responsible to God and not to man for his ministry.
After having been a pastor for nearly thirty years in Boise, the people in the congregation had so many beautiful things to say about this man who was my father, it almost overwhelmed me. I would like to share some of the thoughts about him from his congregation.
Over and over again people mentioned his steadfastness, his terrific sense of humor, his compassion, his faith.
From several young people: "He was my friend and pastor. His love and concern were as real as the love of my own father. When I expressed skepticism about the angelic visitations, he refused to argue or defend; he just told me to keep my eyes on Jesus, and never became cold toward me because I had doubted."
"A deep voice behind me said, "Have you ever been baptized in 7-Up?" That was the first time I met Pastor Buck. Although God was so evidently at work in his life in such an extraordinary way, he always enjoyed a good laugh."
From a day-care worker: "The word 'pastor' is just a six-letter word until it is used in front of a godly man's name. Pastor Roland Buck was this kind of man. He always had time for you, and he always said, 'God cares for people.' I'm proud he was my pastor."
From his associate pastors: "He was a man of high integrity, quick to respond when you were hurting, and sensitive to your feelings. He was a man ready to forgive and not too proud to ask forgiveness when the occasion arose."
"When I had to make a decision about marriage that broke my heart, pastor put his arm around my shoulder and told God, 'Father, he's just like a son to me. Please let me carry some of the burden of sorrow that he is carrying, please let me help bear this load.' When I opened my eyes, big tears were streaming down his cheeks. This love and concern gave me a new picture of how God can use a willing vessel to bring His care to people."
"He took the words, 'I can't' out of my vocabulary and replaced it with 'I can, I can, I can!' He was the man most consistent in life and words that I ever met. He made God bigger to me than I had ever seen Him."
A member for twenty-seven years: "He taught us to be steady and sure, and to walk with confidence in God's love. He stayed on a steady course, never given to religious fads or new doctrines that sprang up in some areas."
From a marriage that was saved: "I called that 'Preacher Buck' at eleven o'clock at night. He didn't know me, but he told me to meet him at his office right away. He listened to me, and then he told me, 'I don't have any answers, but I know Someone who does!' My life was changed and my marriage put back together."
From a homosexual, one of many who found total deliverance as my father prayed: "As he prayed for me, I felt the power of God go through me so strongly, I couldn't move. Then I felt as though heavy chains had fallen off, chains I hadn't even been aware of. I was and am a brand new person. In Pastor Buck's eyes as well as God's, I am not an ex-homosexual, but a first-class citizen of the kingdom, made as though I had never sinned."
I realize that there are a lot of congregations who have beautiful pastors and who love them just as much as this congregation loved daddy, but I maintain that there was something special about him.
The next glimpse into my father's ministry confirms that very special uniqueness.
A young couple with several children visited the church and when they heard the beautiful message of reconciliation, their hearts responded. They made an appointment with my dad and accepted Jesus in his office. They told him that they had been living together and shared with him the desire of their heart. He was absolutely delighted, and the very next Sunday night, my father entered the baptismal and told of the simple faith of this young couple. They had asked him to marry them, dedicate their two children, and then be baptized themselves. So standing in the baptismal, daddy did just that. The glow of God's glory flooded the sanctuary, and you know, I think if we could have peeked into the throne room, we would have seen a great big smile on God's face as He watched what was taking place.
I asked daddy once, "What do the angels call you when they talk with you?" With a voice that was husky and filled with feeling, my father answered, "They always call me pastor!"
My daddy was called by a lot of name. My mother called him "Sweetheart," we girls called him "daddy," my brother and my husband called him "dad," his other son-in-law called him "Pop," his grandchildren call him "Boppa," but God called him "Pastor."
Next: Not Guilty