I met Brother Blair 47 years ago. It was August, 1974. I was a teenager. That relationship has changed my life, not once, but many times. Brother Blair’s love of God and of people has moved many mountains in many lives. He labored, intent that we would grow into what God wanted for each one and for all of us together. Even when I didn’t see it as clearly as he did, he loved gently, patiently, and in the same gracious way was uncompromising, always reaching for the next steps for all of us, encouraging us to draw closer to God and His way, always seeking the higher vision. His vision illuminated our vision. His love taught me to love. From the 92nd St. Y to the lower east side, and then we were on a journey of exodus, seeking a land that God would show us, not seeing fully, but full of the vision and hope and expectation that Brother Blair fanned to flame.
During one New Jersey meeting in the early days of our church, perhaps 1976, Brother Blair called Sister Regina to come up to the platform to sing a song with him (they never led songs). They stood in front of us with tears streaming down their faces and sang, “You don’t know like I know what He’s done for me.” And I realized that I didn’t know like they knew, not yet. Now, 45 years later that remains one of my poignant memories of them.
Brother Blair’s vision of the church as a viable alternative to the world pressed into our lives, changing hearts, feelings, patterns of thought. I’m especially thankful that he challenged my unexamined assumptions. I’m thankful for Brother Blair’s passion, his determination, to overcome every obstacle in order to establish the kingdom of God in many hearts and many lives. Brother Blair was never satisfied with simplistic answers that could not stand against the strong winds of opposition. He was willing to dig deeper – deeper convictions, deeper understandings, deeper love, eternal truths, digging to bedrock. Thank you for caring deeply.
And now, look what that vision and love has grown into! My grandchildren have a future. We are singing the songs of the kingdom of God. Our hearts beat in sync with God and one another. We are following the Voice that Brother Blair taught us to follow.
Thank you, thank you! It has been a wonderful journey. I cannot imagine a more wonderful way this side of heaven. And thank you to all who continue on this great pathway!