On Friday evening, Christie received a text letting us know that a Bayside Church member had just collapsed and was being rushed to the hospital. It was Craig weir, husband of Onida Weir (Bayside Church’s children’s ministry leader). By Sunday afternoon Craig had passed away. He was 47.

Over my 35 years in pastoral ministry, I have been with many people when they’ve died. I’ve conducted dozens of funerals, I’ve walked the journey of grief with lots of people. Death is always sad, although the death of a person ripe in years or someone who’s suffered pain from a terminal illness is often merciful. But the passing of one so young seems unfathomable.

I’m writing this blog as my tribute to Craig Lyndon Weir ((13/06/1973 – 14/02/2021). He and I used to joke about our yearly breakfast catch-up. “Hey, Rob,” he’d say in his South African accent. “It must be nearly time for our annual breaky.” Our last one was early March last year, just before the first lockdown. It crossed my mind a week or two ago that we were about due for another catch-up. Sadly, that is not to be.

Craig was a gentle man with a great sense of humour renowned for his dad jokes, much like my own! He loved his wife and kids, his family and friends. And it’s that which I’d like to focus on here. Even in death, he gave the gift of life to others.

In discussion with Christie, Onida and the kids decided on the weekend to donate Craig’s organs. Amid their grief, they decided that Craig would want to be as generous in death as he was in life.

Having said their goodbyes, they left Craig in the caring hands of skilled surgeons and DonateLife Victoria. Over the next couple of days, Craig’s body gave life to a man who would have died if it were not for Craig’s healthy heart being made available to him. I am told that this man and his family are rejoicing.

Two people received his corneas and the gift of improved eyesight and the resulting quality of life. One of his kidneys, as well as his liver, was also donated. His pancreas was given for diabetes research, as were his lungs, some bone marrow, and blood.

Bayside Church’s Vision includes the words, “To courageously love.” To me, the act of generosity displayed by Onida and her family powerfully typify courageous love. Onida shared with me yesterday how she had powerfully experienced the presence of God. And that in grief, she had discovered the truth of these words: “For I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:13).

I’ve been pondering how in life joy and sadness; happiness and grief are often so intertwined. At most funerals, there are things said in a eulogy that make people laugh and cry. A few days ago, a grieving family made decisions that brought great joy to others. And isn’t that a stunning picture of the Christian gospel? The life and death of the man Jesus has brought so much life and joy to millions over two millennia.

A decade ago, I made the decision to become an organ donor. It was around this time of year in the season of Lent. Lent is about giving up something, so others don’t have to. In the past, I’d gone without coffee for 40 days and donated that money to our Forever Home for boys in South Africa. Organ donation is the gift you decide in life so that your death reflects the generosity by which you’ve lived.

In this Lenten season, why not register to become an organ donor? It’s so simple Donate Life today.

Organ donation gives another chance at life to those people who would otherwise die. Jesus taught the Golden Rule, “in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). If I – or Christie or our kids – was dying and an organ transplant could save a life, I would be so grateful if a donor was available. If I would want others to do that for me, why wouldn’t I reciprocate? Organ donation is one of the few acts for which people will remember you. We will certainly remember Craig Weir for this and a whole lot more!

This week’s blog is by my dear friend, Graham Crossan. Graham, and his wife Gaynor, are much-loved members of Bayside Church. A decade ago, Graham was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and given 27 months to live. While he’s outlived all expectations, the malicious processes of MND are relentless. In his newest blog, Graham depicts this process, and its inevitable conclusion, with stunning symbolism. Most people don’t like talking about death, but we’ll all face it sooner or later. And, for the follower of Jesus, death is not the end but a beautiful new beginning. I hope you’re inspired by Graham’s latest offering…


Like A Leaf 

By Graham Crossan


I’ve arrived at a time when I feel like a leaf on a lawn. 

I’m in late autumn now, having long ago dropped off my perch in the high branches of that big tree.

No longer do I project the generous green of good health I once did. 

I’m a different picture now. A wrinkled russet red, with arteries and inner workings exposed for all to see.

What they think from what they see is not the way I see myself. 

I’m still performing a role. A new role, demanding a different approach. A new outlook.

Around me, surrounding me, is a botanical bounty of life in different stages.

Cycles rotating, some rising and others falling. And this leaf on the lawn is cycling too.

Nothing is as it was. Nothing will be as it is. 

It is, as the saying goes, what it is. It was also what it was, and will be what it, one day, will be. Nothing changes, yet everything does.

We all make of things what we will. Even fallen leaves.

Down here the view is dramatically different now. Reduced. Shrinking day by day. But it is still a view.

If I keep looking up to where I’ve been, my outlook seems desperately diminished and dreary. So, I allow myself only the occasional glance. Nothing is resolved by doing that, because it’s all already decided.

I have not enough time to indulge in misery. I want to move forward, not back. But I’m only a leaf on a lawn.

So, I wait. And when the wind blows, as it eventually will, the world around me will take on an element of drama.

It, and my life along with it, becomes more dynamic. Not longer, no, but infinitely more interesting. And that’s with me still trapped in a body almost devoid of strength and any way of moving of its own accord.

So, the ‘leaf’ that speaks is just a wind gust away from that other option of being a hope-less, help-less, lost leaf. A leaf that only sees what was before, and is now gone for good – or bad.

In my place out here, I’m well aware that the gardener will come some time to rake up all the fallen leaves and commit us to the compost heap. And that will be the end of life as a leaf, but not the end of everything.

As loam, what’s left of me will find its way back into the soil. Fuel for the next cycle. The next season.

And if the story I have read is true, that will be the best season.