There was nothing left except the skeletal remains. His previously rugged and handsome face was gone. Emergency responders to the incident which had ended his life during the 60th anniversary celebration shared their memories and shed some tears. Big Tex, the 52 foot tall cowboy that has stood at the entrance to the State of Texas Fairgrounds, was destroyed by fire. His mechanical movements and amplified live voice had welcomed the crowds to the State Fair for years.
There are probably not many "real" Texans that haven't had their picture taken, standing in front of Big Tex, and this icon of not only the fair, but also the annual University of Texas/Oklahoma University football game, is gone. The State Fair ended on Sunday, and Big Tex was scheduled for his removal from the grounds until next year, but now the year will be spent in rebuilding his metal frame and his new cowboy duds.
I was happy when the news reports assured us that Big Tex was going to be rebuilt. The State Fair just wouldn't be the same without him. While there are many facts surrounding this icon that I do not know, the one thing Big Tex has been helpful doing for all those years, is his assistance in finding people who are lost. Everyone I know that went to the fair in groups would set a time for departure from the fair by saying something like, "I'll meet you at Big Tex at 3:00pm." His towering cowboy hat could be seen from just about anywhere on the fairgrounds. If people got separated from their party, the instructions were always the same, "Go to Big Tex and we can join the group there."
Big Tex helped me in another way.. It caused me to do some serious thinking about life and some very important promises from the Word of God. The Apostle Paul was talking to the Corinthian Christians and answering questions they had about their bodies after they died. The human experience lets us know these bodies we are living in, go through an aging process and the more years we live, the less we are able to do. Then at death our bodies continue the decaying process until we become dust, just like we started. That perplexity is addressed by Paul when he says, "For we know that if the earthly tent(our body) we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands" 2 Corinthians 5:1. I do not know how God is going to do that, but I believe his promise. Our worn out, tired, achy bodies are going to be replaced by a new body from God and that new body is eternal. Now look at this verse:
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever" 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
We gather in a cemetery to inter the remains of our loved ones, knowing someday we will join them there. It is a place of memory, a place of beauty, a place of quietness. According to the Bible, when Jesus returns, the cemetery will become THE place of activity and excitement; it will be the party place for those who are in Christ.
I am anxious to see the new Big Tex, but that will never compare to the glorious return of our Lord to give us a new body and welcome us to his eternal home. See you at the party!