Summary: Eulogy for an elderly Christian woman

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Doris Rita Braun

When I serving on staff at a church in Tulsa, I had a mentor in ministry who told story of one of his first funerals. Mac was a pastor in Muskogee, OK, just a year out of seminary and one of the women of the church had died. It had been raining for days and the funeral home had actually told him they didn’t know if they were going to be able to dig the grave and have the internment. But there had been a break in the clouds the day before and they were able to dig the grave. They held the service in the funeral home chapel and then made their way in the rain for the graveside portion of the service. It started to pour and all the family and friends huddled under the tent. The ground was soaked and Mac was standing in puddles. Mac started the graveside service and just as he was saying, ashes to ashes and dust to dust, he felt the ground begin to move. And before he could step back, the side of the grave caved in, taking Mac with him until he found himself with one foot in the grave and one out. And then he said, “I have come to understand that’s how it is with us, we have one foot in life and the other in death.” It is \today that we now find ourselves still in the midst of life but also standing in the midst of death. And it is the midst of death that we as Christians come together seeking the strength of God. In this time of loss, we seek the comfort of Jesus Christ. In this time of pain we grasp for the loving arms of God.

James Doyle tells the story of growing up and as a 5 year old he would pretend to fall asleep during the evening worship service! If I did, I knew my dad would carry me home. I would do this because we walked to and from church. It was about 1 mile each way. Being little wasn’t my problem. The length wasn’t my problem. I enjoyed the walk with my family. However, my older brothers teased me by telling me that at night in one of the fields we’d walk through there was a "boogey man" who would "get me". Now that frightened me! One night I really did fall asleep. Dad picked me up. I woke up right away but continued to pretend to be asleep as he carried me. That night we went right through that frightening field and I was not one bit afraid. I felt the warmth, the strength and the protection of my dad’s arms. To this day, some 50 plus years later, I can still "feel" his arms and "hear" his breathing as I remember his ultimate protection. So, it wasn’t long until I would constantly pretend to fall asleep on the pew knowing I could go through that frightening experience safe in my dad’s arms! And then he writes, “Today, when I talk about death and dying I realize that it, too, can be a frightening experience. But one thing I know for sure, I am always safe in God’s Arms. He made me a promise that when my room was ready, He would come for me and take me there. Even the frightening experience of death’s field is no match for our Father’s secure and strong Arms!” Today God holds us close in his loving arms as we experience both the mystery and fear of death.

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