Isaac Phillips remembered as strong Christian at ...
The Lipscomb community gathered once more on Tuesday afternoon to mourn the death of freshman Isaac Phillips.
Phillips passed away early Saturday morning on campus, and a special, standing-room-only service was held in Collins Alumni Auditorium to honor his memory.
Phillips had spent a large portion of his academic career at Lipscomb, having played football and baseball during his time as a Lipscomb Academy student.
“It was this place where he was a student for many years,” Lipscomb President Dr. Randy Lowry said. “It was this place where he excelled academically. It was this place where he excelled athletically. It was this place where he made friends – those of you that will remember him for the rest of your lives. And it is this place that his faith grew.
“And so it’s fitting that it’s at this place that we gather this afternoon – a place that we gather, in part, to ask questions that really have no answers. It’s a place that we gather to support each other. It’s a place that we gather to affirm our hope that goes beyond the events of the last 72 hours – to affirm that we are apart of God’s story, a larger story, a story that has a very, very different ending.”
Lowry spoke directly to the family in attendance, promising support from the Lipscomb family as they journey through the circumstances. He also thanked the students for their handling of the situation.
“The reality is, in moments like this, a community reflects what it really is, and I couldn’t be more proud of our students and our faculty and the way that they have turned to be a part of this moment,” Lowry said.
Lowry paraphrased an old Hebrew saying that went “we grieve that he is gone, but we share a thankfulness that he was here.” Lowry said that, despite the turn of events in Phillips’ life, all in attendance should be thankful of his time spent both on campus and on the Earth.
“But, in spite of the grief, we share a thankfulness that he was here, and that we had the opportunity to be blessed by his presence,” Lowry said.
Academy teacher and high school football coach Scott Tillman shared a few humorous moments about his time spent with Phillips.
“I truly believe one of the greatest gifts that God has ever given his children: well, their memories,” Tillman said. “God allows our minds to be filled with wonderful pictures and stories of those who have gone before us that we care so much about. Today, we’ve come to have some of those memories and to share some of those stories of our friend Isaac Phillips.”
Tillman shared another memory of getting to watch Phillips and the rest of the Mustangs baseball team win the state championship during Phillips’ sophomore season. To Tillman, a large part of that win was because “Isaac caught on fire.”
“As a matter of fact, he hit over .700 for the tournament,” Tillman said.
Tillman portrayed Phillips as a humble, kind person.
“He loved his family, and he loved his friends,” Tillman said. “Today, we celebrate his life and we lean on each other for comfort as God provides comfort for us all.”
Professor of Spiritual Formation Rhonda Lowry got to know Phillips during a week-long Global Learning trip to England over the summer. While there, Mrs. Lowry began to note the attention to detail and keen interest that Phillips put into his work.
She talked about how he was a fierce competitor, whether it was on the ball field or in life.
“He wanted to own life,” Mrs. Lowry said.
She quoted Isaiah 11, talking about life in God’s kingdom, where the wolf will live with the lamb. Lowry spoke to how many may think that the wolf has claimed Phillips’ life, his spirit remains unable to be taken. She later referenced the lamb again that represents Jesus, whose sacrifice on the cross defeats the wolf and his schemes.
“Students, there’s a part of our dear Issac that, while the wolf looks like it’s won right now, the wolf will never own Isaac’s soul. That belongs to God alone,” Mrs. Lowry said.
Lowry encouraged those in the audience to not blame themselves for the events that transpired and to continue to be the Christian that Phillips was.
“So, we must pick up that baton. We must love his son. We must love his family. We must run toward the lamb,” Mrs. Lowry said.
Phillips is survived by a father, a mother, two sisters, a brother and a young son.