Summary: Funeral for an elderly Christian woman based upon John 14:1-6 The best of life is to be found not in the accujulation of riches or in achieving fame, but rather, in loving God and treating others as we wish to be treated. Such a life is a life well-live
Funeral for an elderly Christian woman:
A reading from the Gospel according to John Chapter 14 verses 1-6
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Message “A Life Well-Lived”
With these words the Lord opens to his disciples both the confidence to live well today in this life and the hope of an eternal tomorrow. Perhaps no other words have the potential to inspire and build confidence to live life well. In these words are found the heart of the good news of God's plan of redemption. And upon the acceptance of these words a life well-lived can and is to be built. Upon acceptance of the Gospel many of life's frustrations become null and void, many of life's aspirations diminish in importance. The best of life is to be found not in the accumulation of riches or in achieving fame. Such aspirations may lead to success by worldly standards, but achievement of such aspirations do necessarily lead to fulfillment.
If our prayer is “make me a blessing to others” and if this is the true measure of a life well-lived, which I believe it to be, then it follows that our true happiness, the measure of a life well-lived, cannot be found in prideful rejection of the role of Created, nor by our feeble attempts to ourselves usurp that role Creator. No, the life well-lived is the life that learns to embrace the law of the Creator, for in becoming what we are created to become, and only in doing so, can we find happiness, meaning, and contentment.
Both the bible and classical philosophy correctly identify the foundation of a life well-lived to be the achieving of a goodly measure of happiness in life. But the identification of true happiness differs. Again, the secular world attributes happiness to material possessions, fame and fortune. Jesus, in contrast, declares, “How happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. How happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. How happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. How happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled. How happy are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. How happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. How happy are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Elsewhere in the bible we read, “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord”, and, “Whoever trusts in the Lord is happy”. Yes, all the greatest philosophers from the time of Aristotle and even before agree that for a life to be well-lived there must be happiness. The distinctive claim of the Bible, however, is that the greatest happiness is to be found in obedience to the command that we love God with all our heart and also that we treat others as we ourselves wish to be treated. Do this, and you will be happy regardless of the outward circumstances of your life. Do this and you will achieve a life well-lived, as I believe Arlene did.
There are many people who achieve success by worldly standards. Not all of them, however, may be said to live a life well-lived, for most certainly not all of them are happy. Such people may achieve wealth, fame, and power, yet without living in conformity to the law of love for God and charity for fellow humanity all of their accomplishments mean very little by either the philosopher's or the Bible's definition of a life well-lived, for none of them, without love in one's heart, can experience true happiness and contentment in life.
The Christian, in contrast, may experience many adversities and hardships, may never achieve all that he or she has set out to accomplish, may live a life of obscurity, pain and poverty. Yet when the love of God and love for fellow humanity governs the heart, such a person knows happiness, and such a life is most certainly the more worth living.
Arlene who offered up a life of service to her church as organist and pianist, this from the time she was but 14 years of age, knew happiness in her service. We have heard many tributes to her today which without a doubt testify that Arlene understood well the meaning of happiness and contentment, and in this she most certainly lived a life well-lived. In giving she received. In obedience to her role of created she found the laws of the Creator to be a burden easily carried throughout her life. In homemaking, in parenting, in friendship and in community her life was well-lived. And we praise her for this today. No, she did not become a person whom historians will write about, but she knew the joy of the Lord. This joy is the highest happiness. And in such happiness does mankind find the highest expression and experience of life that is indeed and most truly well-lived.