Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. – Revelation 22:1-2
In Memory of a Friend:
Our church lost a faithful saint last week, a good man who has bravely faced many health challenges over the past few years. Tom Christos was younger than me, seemed to be strong, and had been doing well enough that he was elected to serve as a deacon at WFPC, taking on the responsibility of caring for others in the name of Jesus. Tom was, quite simply, a lovely human being, charming and gentle, with a beautiful soul.
Along with his wife, Sandy, Tom has been a leader in our community in many ways, most especially through the ministry of sharing his serene spirit, one that communicates the heart of the good news of peace and love.
And so this is the story I want to share; it’s my response to Tom and Sandy’s daughter Allie, and her request for some memories. It’s a story that illustrates the sweet gift that Tom was always giving and that epitomizes his presence in my life.
Here’s my story:
It was one Sunday morning in the fall, and we were downstairs in the CLC for the 9:00 Praise Service. Tom was with the band, playing percussion alongside of Brett.
Tom may have been in the back, but his smile was so bright it lit up the stage. Then (and this took him two complete songs to accomplish) he started to move around the band, one person after another.
First, Tom stood by each instrumentalist, one at a time, as close as he could. He put one arm around Hans (then David, then Dan, then Karen, then Brett) while working his percussion shaker with his other, grinning all the time like he could hardly contain the love. Then he came to the front, where he stood with each of the vocalists in turn for a verse, or a chorus, before moving on down the line, smiling that huge smile because love and light were just overflowing from his soul.
And that’s the image I have in my mind pretty much every time I think of Tom Christos. I see Tom standing on the stage during worship with one arm around a Praise Team member and the other shaking his shaker, with the love of God saturating his countenance and light spilling out all over the place. He is gifting the entire congregation with his contagious smile and he is communicating – pitch perfect – the overwhelming sense of joy and of privilege that is ours to gather in the presence of God and to give thanks…
Thanksgiving for the love of Jesus and also giving thanks for each other. And I am so very thankful for Tom Christos.
I will always be grateful for such witnesses to authentic life – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.