Summary: Funeral sermon for Regina Thompson
Feeling Left Behind
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There is no event that tugs at our heartstrings the way that a funeral service following a great tragedy does. Something about feeling like we were left behind stirs our emotions and brings a profound sense of loneliness to our hearts. In a split second an unexpected tragedy has affected our lives, a loved one passed from this life to eternal life; leaving friends, family, neighbors and coworkers behind. Left behind indeed brings about pain that at times seems almost unbearable. The aftermath of this pain and feelings of loneliness simultaneously brings out the best and the worst our emotions have to offer.
On one hand, we reminisce about the good times we enjoyed with our loved one – the experiences we had together, the laughter we shared, the days we thought would never end. The kids have shared some of those types of memories. Skylar remembers how she showered the people around her in love. This built much of the respect Skylar had for his mom. He also remembers the trip to Cedar Point. Blake remembers the pride she took in them and how she would show them off when they would go to work with her. Ricky enjoyed the times he went to work with her and actually had to work. He also enjoyed all the times that she took him to school. Katrina remembers going shopping with her mom and the fun that they had together at all the beauty pageants. Katrina remembers the trips to Florida and Atlantic City. Katrina also remembers how her mom worked to keep them all on the right path. I want you to think of the legacy that she left for Rick and the kids as well as the rest of us. The hope that we will one day be together again in Heaven because of what Jesus Christ has done. I would like us to consider Regina’s life here with us on this earth as a journey. Life is a journey that each of us makes. The decisions that we make determines the course for our journey. We know today that Regina’s journey took her home and we know that if we place our trust and hope in Jesus Christ, we will join her for a great family reunion in Heaven. Regina left a legacy for her family and friends to follow one of faith, love and trust in the Lord. She worked hard to make sure her family would stay on the right path. Now it is up to them to allow her legacy to live on in their lives.
As I stand here before you today, I dare not give you easy answers. Our view of the world and our view of God have been shaken to the very foundations in our lives. We may have wished to think that the world is a safe and friendly place but that idea is shattered by a sudden vehicle accident. We may think of God as some kind of a benevolent dictator who pulls the strings of life with everything working out as they should but today’s realities make such ideas hard to maintain. I need to tell you today what God can and cannot do. God could not prevent the tragedy from happening. Bad things happen and they happen to good people. God does not make them happen and God cannot stop them from happening whenever it suits us.
This is a difficult time for all of us. The shaking of our foundations forces us to dig more deeply into our minds, to probe the critical questions of life. Today we are confronted with the stark reality of death and we have no choice but to think about those questions. What do I believe about life? What do I believe about death and life after death? What place has God in my life? Do I believe that Jesus died for me on the cross so that I may not fear death? Today is not the time to present you with the proper religious terminology or empty assurances. We need hope and we need it now.
This brings us to the other side of our emotional balance sheet. It is irrational to think we would not hold some feelings of contempt in our hearts over the tragic passing of a friend or family member. Some of you are searching for answers this right now. I want you to know that it’s OK to ask questions. It’s natural to wonder why this had to happen. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do some suffer and not others? What is the purpose of life that is cut short in this fashion? The questions that race through our minds are vital to our understanding of both life and death, and are likely responses from our human nature. Our mourning, questions and tears should not be suppressed as though unreasonable. We have, after all, suffered a loss, and as social beings, we long for friendship, intimacy and the relationships we share with others.