My Friend, the Stamp Collector

He taught me a new way to detach stamps from envelopes. I had been taught to soak the envelopes in water for several minutes until the stamps came off. He showed be how, instead of soaking them, you spray the stamps with a citrus cleanser and they come off almost immediately.

We remove stamps from envelopes so we can display them in special stamp albums. He had collected every United States stamp issued from the year of his birth to the present; well over 80 years. He helped boost my stamp collection with a very generous donation.

I showed him the album of Nigerian stamps I had collected as a kid when I lived in Nigeria.

We had several opportunities to discuss stamp collecting, one of the most popular hobbies in the world, during my weekly pastoral visits to him as his body was succumbing to the ravages of cancer. When the end drew near the visits happened daily and we no longer talked about stamps. I worked stamp collecting into the sermon I preached for his funeral.

His favorite hymn was The Old Rugged Cross

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.


In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.


To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.


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