Living In The Sonlight: The Legacy of Geoff Richards - II

Living In The Sonlight: The Legacy of Geoff Richards - II

Tuesday January 31, 2023


Every time he wrote to me, Geoff Richard’s way with truth and words was like reading poetry, or listening to a symphony, or watching a ballet. Nothing shallow or superficial or superfluous about him. Every thought, every word was deep and precise and beautiful.

One day back in November of 2011, he wrote to me: “Bev, you have probably noticed that I am not on Facebook these days. I deactivated my account indefinitely early last month in order to get my face in THE Book [the Bible] more… I seek to draw always from the never-failing Spring of Life.” Something we should probably all do more regularly and deliberately…

No doubt because he chose to “get his face in THE Book more”, on New Year’s Day of 2012, in his Pilgrim Notes E-mail entitled “Life in the Sonlight” he was inspired to write: “It is a glorious first new day of this brand new year here in the Blue Mountains - warm, quiet and still… The sun is already going down, but on the believing heart God's Son rises and never sets (Malachi 4:2)! Where He is Lord there is no night (Revelation 21:23-25, 22:5). What a perfect day to give thanks to the Lord, sing praises to Him, glory in His holy Name, seek the Lord, His strength and His Presence continually… (1 Chronicles 16:8-11).”

Then he wrote: “Darkness has often tried to masquerade as Reality in 2011, but I am continually learning to proclaim differently:

When darkness seems to hide His face

I rest on His unchanging grace;

When all around my soul gives way

He then is all my hope and stay.

The diagnosis in March of inoperable bone cancer, then the TURP operation in May, threatened darkness briefly – but, thank God, His Sonshine prevailed and I was able to see clearly to Live again. “With You is the fountain of Life. In Your light do we see light.” (Psalm 36:9)

Today I woke with a delightful 'picture' in my mind's eye: I was standing in the early morning on a low dune above a pristine beach at low tide, a long line of sand stretching emptily into the distance. Somehow I knew I was seeing the turn of the year: the Old Year tide-washed clean of detritus and multiplied footprints; the unmarked sand inviting new and purposeful Life-tracks.

As I looked I seemed to see Him some way off along the beach, just as He may have appeared to His disciples that post-Resurrection, John 21 morning. He was sitting by a driftwood fire smiling, fish roasting. "Come and have breakfast", I sensed as wind-words and felt again those pangs of soul hunger - for the lasting food of intimate companionship with Him early in this year's morning. With a singing heart I stepped down onto the unmarked sand.

"Coming, my Lord... coming..."”

Geoff’s words, Geoff’s life, were always a challenge to me: a challenge to live more fully, more deeply, more intentionally, more spiritually. He always chose and proclaimed Life and Light, no matter how dead and dark his earthly reality appeared, or as he said “masqueraded”, to be. Despite an inoperable-bone-cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery, He deeply understood what it meant to choose to live in Christ, his Light and his fountain of Life. “Those pangs of soul hunger for the lasting food of intimate companionship” with his Lord were his daily experience. And today – in the presence of his heavenly Saviour, and in a much deeper way then he did in the ‘picture” in his mind’s eye a few years back – “with a singing heart” he has “stepped down onto the unmarked sand” of eternity to “come and have breakfast” with Jesus.