Chris Cooper’s Retirement Blessing

October 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I was asked to bring a blessing and invocation at a retirement party for my cousin’s husband.  Here is the typed text of what I shared.  The spoken version came out slightly different, but all the same thoughts were in it.

Welcome!  Thanks for coming.  We’re here to celebrate the career of Dr. Christopher Cooper.  I don’t know much about Dr. Cooper’s career, but I know something about his character.  And every positive thing we hear about his career today will be an outworking of his character.

I met Dr. Cooper, simply Chris to me, 46 or 47 years ago when I was in first or second grade.  I was spending a weekend at my Uncle Walter’s ranch, and the discussion was the boyfriend my cousin Kathie was bringing home from college to meet the family.  For some reason, when he got there, Chris noticed the baby cousin visiting and took a liking to him.  I don’t know why, but he decided to teach that cousin how to play chess.  Now for a first grade geeky student, before geek was a word, that was really cool (probably before cool was a word too!).  But he also taught me some other cool stuff.  The next time I saw Chris, he had a present to give me, and I still have it today.  He taught me how to use a slide rule and gave me one to keep for my own.  Now if you’re under 50, you probably don’t know what a slide rule is.  A slide rule is to a digital calculator what a walkie-talkie is to a smart phone, or what a typewriter is to a computer.  Of course if you’re under 50 you may not know what those are either.  Suffice it to say that a slide rule was state of the art cool – way more cool than playing chess – especially for a geeky first grader who loved math.

One day Jesus’ followers were having an argument about greatness — an I’m better than you kind of discussion.  So Jesus took a little child and had it stand in their midst and said, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the One who sent me.  For he who is least among you all he is the greatest”  Welcoming the insignificant people among us is to be like Jesus; it is in fact true greatness.  Chris Cooper’s life and career, from my small perspective, have been marked by welcoming the insignificant, whether it be the baby geeky cousin, the poor lonesome patient, or the unborn child.  Chris, thanks using for your gifts for insignificant people – that is a picture of godliness and true greatness.

Such is the character of the man we honor today.  I’m too am honored to be a part of the celebration.

Jesus, you told us to welcome the little child.  We’re here to honor and celebrate the career of a man who often did that.  But we also realize any good gifts we have come from you, so we’re here to give you glory as well.  May our evening together honor Chris, glorify you, and encourage the rest of us.  May we delight in each other’s company; may we enjoy a good meal, may we share a few laughs; may we remember the past with fondness;  may we leave here full of your goodness.

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  1. I received word that Chris passed away yesterday. I am shocked and saddened. May God’s peace rest on his wife Kathie, his children, and grandchildren and on my Ferguson cousins and their families.


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