Summary: This sermon is a compulation from many different sources. Please don’t quote my name! Instead, use it to bring comfort where able.
Memorial Service of John E. Doe
Pastor Greg Buchner, Officiating
Time of Visitation/Gathering
Prelude – “Old Rugged Cross”
We all have burdens.
Some of us overcome them and some of us are overcome by them.
We all know that life is full of questions.
Some of us find answers and some of us have questions that forever go unanswered.
We all have felt the sting of death.
Some die because of a diseased heart, others die from a cancer-ridden lung, and still others die from a diseased brain.
In God’s wise divine intervention, none of us can see very far ahead. The future is always unknown, and no one could have foreseen the kind of summons that brings us to this moment,
on this day.
Each one of us in our own way since Sunday morning have been asking ourselves, what could we have done? What should we have done? Could we have done anything differently? Personally, I wish that I could have given John better counsel. I wish that I could have given him the hope he needed to get through this lowest of lows. I wish that I could have been there to stop him, but I wasn’t.
And, in reality, the only way that any of us could have stopped our friend and loved one from giving up his life, would have been to be there at that very moment to stop him. But not only then, but to be with him every waking moment of every single day.
It wasn’t our fault. It wasn’t John’s fault…it was no one’s fault.
Friends and family, we have gathered here in grief, acknowledging our human loss. We have
gathered in our pain, hoping to find some sense of comfort. We have gathered in sorrow,
struggling to find some sense of hope.
I have not known John as long as or nearly as well as the most of you, but I’ve known him well enough to know he was a man who had faith. And even in the midst of his most darkness moments with bi-polar and manic depression, he often looked for God, experienced his relationship with God, and tried to learn what God was trying to teach him.
John is no longer with us, but in my conversations and letters I’ve shared with him in the past, I can tell you that John and God were trying to figure out their relationship together. That tells me that they had a relationship in the first place.
And I believe that the gracious God that I know and love and respect and honor, is telling John it’s okay. And I believe that the same gracious God, full of mercy and grace, is telling us today, that it’s okay.
John’s not suffering. He’s thinking more clearly than he has ever thought before. Probably trying to talk God into computerizing his prayer request system, or just relaxing with grandma and grandpa as they till the ground, cut the grass, or tend to the animals on heaven’s farmland.
Today, while the death of a loved one is always a tragedy, and is it doubly so when that loved one has taken his own life, we can agree with the Hebrew writer, “Let us then with confidence, draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in (this) time of need (Hebrews 4:16).”
Let us with confidence know, that God’s grace is all-sufficient and nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love that God alone offers through His Son, Jesus Christ.
In fact, it was Jesus, himself, who said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4).” May that be so as we gather today. Will you join me in prayer?
Almighty God, our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, You have given us our brother John, to
know and to love in our pilgrimage on earth.
Uphold us now, as we entrust him to your boundless love and eternal care. Assure us that not even
death can separate us from your infinite mercy.
Fill our hearts with trust in you, that by night and by day, at all times and in all seasons, we may
without fear commit those who are dear to us to your never-failing love, for this life and the life to come.
O God, you are always more ready to hear then we are to pray. You know our needs before we ask. To you our hearts are open, and from you no secrets are hidden. So, give to us your grace, that as we shrink before the mystery of death, we may see the light of eternity.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, this is our prayer…Amen.