Pastor Bob Tousey
The Hurt, The Help, The Hope
On behalf of ________’s family, I would like to thank all of you for being here to honor __________’s life. When someone we love dies, there is a feeling of loss. When a loved one is no longer with us, it can trigger very strong reactions, emotions, and questions. We are here today as the people of God to find comfort in the truth of Scripture, and especially to surround _______’s family with our love, our faith, and our prayers.
If I could summarize the purpose of this service, I believe I could do it in these few words:
We should remember the words of the Apostle Paul said in
I Corinthians5:8, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
Today, ___________ is present with the Lord. While this is a time to rejoice for _______ it is a time of sadness for those who remain, but the good news is that you are left with wonderful memories of your life with _________ and while occasionally a tear will flow down your cheek more frequently the memory of ________ will trip a smile from your lip.
I would now like to offer a prayer of Thanksgiving and compassion.
Compassionate God, you have loved _________, and we have loved her too. We come to you because the love we feel is hurting and distressing. We feel lost and helpless, sometimes lonely. We miss ______. Help us to believe that your love is greater and more farseeing than ours. Help us to find confidence in your love and peace in your compassion so that our fears are calmed, and our loneliness is eased. May today and tomorrow be filled with your comfort, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Thousands of years ago Solomon wrote this passage in the Book of Ecclesiastics, which has come to be known as a time for everything and I’d like to share it with you.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to harvest;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
In this passage we are reminded of the importance of time. Every event in our lives has a time to begin and a time to end. We all have clocks in our home, many wear watches on their wrists. We are always reminded about time. You knew that this service began at _______. You know what time you must be at work. You know the week ends on Saturday and begins on Sunday. Nothing lasts forever. Early in this passage we are reminded that life does not last forever either. There is a time to be born and a time to die. When I was young my mom explained to my brother and I that people are loaned to us, some for a very long time and others for a very short time.
__________ was blessed with a very long life in human terms. None of us know why each person’s life span is different but we do all know that death will eventually knock on each of our doors. Therefore, it is important for us to make the most of the time we have, to love each other, value each other, forgive each other, remembering not to waste time on the sadness and disagreements of the past but to make the most of today. We should remember to make the most of the gifts that we have been given. We are also taught in this passage that there is a time to mourn and a time to dance. Today is clearly your day to mourn. It is healthy to cry and be sad but only for a time. Eventually, we must leave the sadness behind and go on to live and be there for one another. There is a time to weep and a time to laugh. Right now, is a time for both. We weep for our sadness, but we laugh when we remember happier times. When I was a fire chaplain, I often spent time with families after a loss. First, there would be tears, shock and denial but eventually someone would put on a pot of coffee, the photo albums would come out and stories would be told. When I saw the family laughing and crying at the same time, I knew the healing had begun. These are both powerful emotions and I encourage you to exercise them in abundance. Over the next hours, days, weeks, months and years share the stories of the good times.
It is also important for us to remember the three promises found in the Gospel of John Chapter 14 verses 1-6. These were the words that Jesus spoke to His friends shortly before His earthly death and He promised that there is more than enough room in His Father’s home for each of us. He then promises us that He is preparing a place especially for us and finally that He will come and take us there Himself. So, with these words we know that _________ was not alone when she died but she was in the loving and comforting arms of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I am also confident that as _________ entered the gates of Heaven, she was greeted by a welcoming committee of those who went before her. While you were not invited to this reunion, you all will have the opportunity to have ________ on your welcoming committee.
We should keep in mind the words of late Billy Graham from several years ago when he said some day you will read that Billy Graham has died. Don’t believe it for at that moment I will be more alive than I have ever been. This teaches us that _______ is not dead, but she lives in eternity and is more alive than she was on this earth.
Shortly we will remember and honor ________’s life before we do, I would like to share the poem The Dash by Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So, think about this long and hard;
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say?
About how you spent your dash?
Insert memories of the deceased.
Insert an appropriate poem.
I now invite you to join me in praying with the words Jesus taught us.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thin is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.