Thursday, January 10, 2008

roby duke

I don't know what to say. I heard a rumor and didn't want it to be true, but it's just been confirmed that Roby Duke went to be with Jesus on December 26th. I'm so grieved by the news, but it's a grief tinged with envy. His is the better reality. The world seems lesser without him in it, but heaven has gained.

Just three days before his death, he played this last song at Calvary Chapel Thousand Oaks. The title is so poignant--especially in light of the fact that Roby has seen Him now, and has touched His beautiful face.

I only met him once, and it was brief at that. But someday, I'm going to sit with Roby and thank him for the many hours that he reminded me, through his gifts, that something far sweeter than this life waits ahead for me.

I Shall See His Face

It's almost as if Someone is standing there
I don't know what I'd give to see the face that seems to stare
And all my life I'd give to know His face
Just how much I know, I'm no fool I dare not say
As I go in the way of all the earth
As I step through the door there where time is no more
I shall see God

I'm older, much older now, and I still believe
That when all else is gone the Rock of Ages cleft for me
And I'm holding something I can't feel or see
And I'll tarry till the day I hear the music of the free
As I go in the way of all the earth
As I step through the door there where time is no more
I shall see perfect peace, perfect love

As I go in the way of all the earth
As I step through the door there where time is no more
Time is no more
I shall see God

I shall see Him
Touch His face
I shall see Him
Touch His face
I shall see Him
Touch His face
I'm finally gonna face the Beginning and the End

This is a portrait called "One Embrace," which Roby's friend, artist Chris Hopkins completed during Roby's memorial. I like to think he captured Roby's first moment in eternity.

And here's what his friend, Terry Clark, wrote to those involved in Catalyst Ministries:

Dear Catalyst Family,

Our dear friend, Roby Duke, has preceded us into the presence of our Savior, after a sudden heart attack yesterday, December 27, 2007. We want to honor Roby and thank God for the life of sacrifice and service that was itself a treasure given to those who knew him and thousands of people who heard his music. He deeply impacted our lives and we are eternally grateful. Since 1993, Roby's genius has been responsible for the production of U Gada No, Love Heals, This Christmas, Only Believe and ThePRIZE. During those years we have become brothers. We were so blessed to have been with him for his birthday earlier this month, then again last Sunday as we played together at Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks, CA. He kept glancing over at me as he sang his final song, "I Shall See God," as if to assure me that he fully believed what he was singing like never before. It was such a sweet and powerful moment as the whole congregation echoed over and over, "I shall see Him, touch His face." Our prayers are with Brantley, Roby's son; Anne Baldwin, his assistant and the whole Duke family. Thanks, Lord, for loaning Roby to us for a little while. It was way too short, it seemed we had so much more to do. But we are absolutely sure You know how to perfectly satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. You've welcomed him personally to do exactly what he has been singing about for as long as we've known him.

So long, Roby. We'll see you soon.

Terry & Nancy Clark

If you'd like to hear more of Roby's music, you can do so at MySpace or on YouTube.


4 Comment:

At 1/10/2008 5:34 PM, Blogger Kim had this to say ...

Such bittersweet news. I was shocked too and immediately called my mom as my parents were very fond of him. We were able to see him perform a few times in CA and a few times here in WA where I met him once.

What an amazing last song. And that picture is breathtaking. May God bless his family.

At 1/11/2008 3:33 PM, Blogger Bill and Glory had this to say ...

So very sorry to hear of your friend's passing. It's always so surreal when people that we know just leave this world like that. A mystery that God alone understands, indeed.

How blessed to securely hope for another meeting another day!


At 1/11/2008 5:32 PM, Blogger Geekwif had this to say ...

I've never heard of him before I read this, but now I'm sitting in a restaurant with wi-fi with tears threatening to spill over. What a great song. And that painting....what a hope.

At 1/19/2008 9:01 PM, Blogger Ann V.@HolyExperience had this to say ...

And Jesus heard him sing that night...and knew how soon it would be... how soon they would touch each other's face.

Each day we are all one closer, one closer. Like labor pains before the delivery. Roby is birthed. And we await ours.

Thank you, Shannon, thank you.


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