Summary: Funeral message for 86 year old Christian man.
Call to Worship:
We have gathered here today to praise God, to celebrate the life of William B. Wilcox Jr. and to bear witness to our faith in the risen Lord.
We come together in grief, acknowledging our human loss. May God grant us grace, that in pain we may find comfort…In sorrow hope…in death resurrection.
Bill is survived by his loving wife
His 3 Sons, A daughter, 8 Grandchildren: 6 Great-grandchildren:
The Word of God tells us that:
In Dying, Christ destroyed our death.
In Rising, Christ restored our life.
Here and now, we are God’s children. What we shall be has not yet been revealed;
But we know that when Christ appears, we will be like him, for we shall see Christ as he is.
This is our Christian hope.
Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life.
Those who believe in me, even though they die; yet they shall live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end the first and the last.
I died and behold I am alive for evermore, and I hold the keys of hell and death. Because I live, you shall live also.
Invocation: Let us pray
Most Gracious God, you are ever more ready to hear than we are to pray. You know our needs before we ask. Give us now your grace, that as we shrink before the mystery of death, we may see the light of eternity. Help us to live as those who are prepared to die. And when our days here are accomplished, enable us to die as those who go forth to live, so that nothing in life or in death will separate us from your great love in Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
Special Music: “How Great Thou Art”
A Time of Remembrance:
There are so many hear who have known and loved Bill that I’d like to take just a few minuets for anyone who would like to stand and share some remembrance that they have of their relationship with Bill.
One of Bill’s favorite hymns was “In The Garden”
I’d like to sing it for you this morning in honor of Bill.
Message: “Crème de la crème”
On several occasions, my wife Sharon and I have been invited to Bill and Ruth’s house for dinner and an evening of cards.
Bill and I were partners and we almost inevitably won…
Well…most of the time we won…
Ok…so occasionally we won
At any rate…when we won, Bill had this little saying…He’d kind of wave his hand like this (demonstrate lifting hand, palm down and fluttering) and say…”You know, The Cream Always Comes to The Top”.
Well, as I was preparing this morning’s message…that little saying of his kept popping into my mind…as if God were trying to show me something.
And so I began to think about cream and about the qualities of cream.
Cream is smooth …it’s taste is rich but subtle.
Cream is the base ingredient for lots of other foods…everything from plain vanilla Ice-cream to rich and exotic sauces and casseroles.
A good cook can do miracles with cream.
But first it has to be separated from the milk. And that’s where Bill’s little saying comes in…because given a pail of fresh milk…the cream will always rise to the top. It will always separate itself from the thinner, less flavorful milk.
The cream is set apart from the milk. The cream is different…it’s richer, it’s smoother, it’s sweater, it’s more useful to the chef.
The virtues of cream are so applauded that we use cream to describe the best of almost anything.
In French, Crème de la crème, literally means, cream of the cream…We say that so and so is the Cream of the Crop…or in describing the complexion of a beautiful woman; she may have skin like peaches and cream.
When Bill and I were so fortunate as to win a game of cards…we were the Crème de la crème. Like cream…we had risen to the top.
And then I though…well this is all very interesting, but what does it have to do with the eternal order of things…what kind of Kingdome lesion is God trying to teach me by filling my head with this little saying?
Well in a way all Christians are the Crème de la crème in that we are separated from the rest of the world. It doesn’t necessarily make us any better…but it does make us more useful to the chef …more useful to God.
You see, when we accept Christ as Lord and Savior…we’re set apart from the rest of the world…the bible uses the word sanctified. John Wesley referred to it as Sanctifying Grace…or… the Holy Spirit working in the life of the believer between the time of our conversion…that point in time when we accept Christ as Lord and Savior…and our death.