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When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, "Mephibosheth!" "Your servant," he replied. 7"Don't be afraid," David said to him, "for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan…2 Samuel 9: 6,7
This passage in 2 Samuel is the picture of grace and generosity from King David to the son of his friend, Jonathan. When your read the full chapter of 2 Samuel 9, you see that David reaches out to restore the fortunes of his friend Jonathan’s family. The friendship between David and Jonathan was written in a time that their backgrounds would not have allowed such a friendship. Jonathon was the child of King Saul and was to inherit the throne after his father’s death. David was the poor shepherd’s son who rose to fame through the killing of Goliath. Jonathan was never threatened by David, and in fact sided with David against his father recognizing David as the man God had called to be King after Saul, not himself. The story spotlights how a young man from the humblest beginning is raised up by God to be a force for good in God’s world despite the norms of society that the young man was born into.
On December 3rd, my friend Brandon Bryant died from pancreatic cancer. Brand loved the Lord, lived for his wife, Trina Bryant and their two sons, Chandler and Sky. You would often find on his Facebook feed, messages from his church Brown Missionary Baptist Church. He was active in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity whose motto is “First of All, Servant of All, We Shall Transcend All, “Alpha Phi Alpha dedicated itself to defend the rights and promote the responsibilities of
African Americans.”
Brandon and I meet in Dallas in 1995 at a Promise Keepers meeting, after that we spent years together in a Friday morning bible study. We were both unmarried working in the financial industry; we met our wives, were honored to be in each other’s weddings and started our families. Our friendship is not one that could have been imagined at the time of our birth given the different in environment of our births. We were both born in Memphis during the '60s and that is where our
similarities end.
I was born at the Baptist Hospital into the East Memphis white world, educated in private schools with no relationship or dependence on the Lord. I would come to know the Lord a few years before I met Brandon, and he was instrumental in helping me to understand God’s grace and my responsibility to my fellow man.

Brandon Bryant

Brandon was born at John Gaston Hospital into a rural North Mississippi world affected by the segregation of the time. His home had no indoor plumbing until he was 15 years old. He was baptized at the age of 12 at Dean Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Lake Cormorant, Mississippi. He was laid to rest at the same church’s cemetery whose headstones tell the story of a people that have worshipped and been a part of building our community since the late 1800’s. Brandon’s faith and what he gave to the world was built on the generations that came before him. Brandon earned a master’s degree from the University of Mississippi, became a professor teaching nighttime accounting classes until his family and work duties limited his time. At the time of his death, he was a Senior Vice President with BancorpSouth.
Brandon, along with other members of our bible study, spent hours praying for each other’s families. When we would discuss our childhoods, it was hard to imagine worlds more different, but what all our childhoods had in common were families who wanted more for their children. The unifying thread of our group prayers for each other was that our children would love the Lord at an early age and would make a positive difference in the world that God called them to serve.
Brandon Bryant was born into a world of segregation, grew into a man of God, loved his fellow man, was successful in every area of life that he was called to touch. He raised two exceptional young men that have been given the opportunity to build on the legacy of their father.
Brandon, as we mourn your loss, we celebrate that God has called you home and declared to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:23

Celebrate the peace and prosperity of Memphis.
Jim Walker

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