Delivered by Josh at Ben’s Thanksgiving Service
It was only two years ago I was standing with all Benjy’s family and friends as his best man in Brazil. I am very likely to go off into saying the same things today as I said back then especially as they both have the same theme. Back then he was starting a new life in Brazil with my wonderful sister-in-law, Dabi. And now he’s starting a new life in heaven with His creator.
Benjy has always been the classic older-brother, the mediator, the friend to all and if we did ever have a fight with him, a grudge could never last more than 5 minutes. He was too kind and forgiving for you to stay mad at him, he was very good at only getting angry at things that worth getting angry over.
I’ve always had some very particular memories that stick with me that show what kind of brother he was, like playing Lord of the Rings in the garden, and naturally being the youngest brother I was ALWAYS the orc, and ‘oh no there was no way I could kill the good guys’. But despite this Benjy would never let me feel like they didn’t want me out there playing with them. Or when he would let me live out the dream of every 8 year old and let me hang out with his friends – the big boys – even though I was literally the most annoying child on the planet. There’re still actually videos on the internet of us free-running with his friends. In fact, once we made a parkour video together and I just remember him telling me how proud he was of me for it; he sent it all over the internet and made me feel very professional. And when he bought the parts for us to build a computer together, he knew full well I had no idea what I was doing but still he’d say we built it together. He’d then explain to me what I’d done post-build.
On the topic of him and computers, i’m sure many of you remember Benjy had quite an affair at his old school with the computer network. So throughout his whole school career, Benjy didn’t receive a single detention or any other like-punishment. But, somehow he managed to get himself expelled from school for hacking into the school system with his friends and changing some settings eg removing the filters. But oh no, that’s not all. He then would edit the photos of particular teachers he wasn’t too keen on to have Gollum from the Lord of the Rings just creeping around in them in the background. So probably worth it in the end.
His humour and knowledge pool was where most of mine took inspiration from – from skateboarding, playing with lego and making parkour videos as children to discussing politics, theology and language etymology’s as young men. He has always been very much an inspiration.
But out of every topic we discussed, nothing excited Benjy more than discussing and trying to get his head around eternity. I remember as a 7 year old, we were at our friends house in Woolacombe and he came up to me and said ‘Josh how do you define time’. I think I remember the sound of my brain snapping in two at that point.
But obviously as we grew up, his thoughts became far more complex. He once spent something like an hour doing a diagram of his idea of heaven and when he explained it to me, I was just nodding saying ‘uh huh uh huh yup’ as everything he said just flew over my head. I still have no idea of how to comprehend eternity but it’s such a comfort knowing that he is within it as we speak. Now I know that saying, ‘oh he’s in a better place’ or ‘they’ll be loving it up there’ is often simply used as rhetoric to express someone’s death in a positive light, but the promise of the Bible gives us a hope so strong and certain about this that as 1 Corinthians 15:19 says, ‘If in Christ we only have hope in this life, we are of all people most to be pitied.’ So rather than just saying he’s in a better place, I can know with the strongest hope that he is in the best place with a fully restored body. Knowing how Benjy devoted his life not to his own plans but rather him and Dabi always listened to what God had planned for them, it brings me such joy to know that when he arrived at eternity’s shore, he was greeted with the verse ‘Well Done good and faithful servant’ as he was welcomed home. So I won’t finish by saying ‘Rest In Peace’ because Benjy isn’t resting; he’s living more than any of us ever have.