Summary: Full funeral service for a spasmodic church attender who was a strong family man and accepted Christ at the end of his life.
March 2, 2000
Scriptural Sentence: 1 Cor. 16:13,14
Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. And everything you do must be done with love.
Hymn # 10 How Great Thou Art
We have gathered this morning to worship God and to celebrate the life of Don Austad. A good man. A strong and courageous man. AND, a man who did everything from a heart of love. Don Austad was a man whose influence and friendship was extraordinary. We’ve come to honor a husband of 49 years, and loving father, grand-father and great-grandfather, and a kind brother.
(To the family) Lavonne, & family, we pray that today we can represent God’s love to you, and that you will feel God’s embracing love, today and in the days and months ahead.
(To the congreg.) We have come to offer our love and support to those who mourn, and to lift them before the Lord in prayer. Let us pray.
Father, we bow before you this morning to thank you for the life of a wonderful, wonderful man. Lord, thank you for the years that you gave him on this earth. Thank you for the memories that those years with us have given. Memories that will be cherished for as long as we live. We thank you too, Lord, that Don’s journey here on this earth is now over, and his life with you - a life that will never end - has begun.
We ask you to comfort Don’s family. We lift Lavonne before you. She’s been a good wife and mother. We know she has pleased you as she has served her husband and family faithfully through the years. So we ask you to give her a new sense of strength and courage to face the challenges that lay before her in the days ahead. Surround her with people who will minister Your love to her.
And Lord, we commend to you Don’s sons and daughters. You’ve told us in your word that children are a rich heritage from you and blessed are those whose pride is in their parents. We know that all of the children you gave to Don and Lavonne are so proud of their Dad. So we ask now, that you would be pleased to comfort them as only you, our heavenly father, can do. We ask you to comfort and strengthen the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. You’ve told us grandchildren are a beautiful crown to those who have them. Comfort them, we pray, and draw them ever nearer to your side.
We ask that you will grant Don’s brothers and sisters precious memories to sustain them. In their loss, increase their faith.
Grant each of the family, the assurance of your presence, today and every day. Grant them your peace. We pray in your precious, holy name. Amen.
SOLO Amazing Grace
Scripture Psalm 15
SOLO Beyond the Sunset Louise
These passages of scripture may seem a little odd for a funeral service. But I’ve learned something very clearly in the past few days. Something that makes these scriptures more appropriate for today, than any other. I’ve learned, above all else, Don was a man of love. He loved his wife. He loved his family. And he loved the people in his community.
Today we celebrate the life of one who fulfilled the ideal that Paul talks about in 1 Cor. 13. You see, Don did a lot for people. He was always willing to pitch in and help somebody. He DID all kinds of things. From serving on the city council to taking time out of this day to help a certain postal carrier install carpet in her jeep to make it more comfortable. Don DID all kinds of things. But it wasn’t the DOING that made Don the man that he was. It was, just as Paul says, that Don did what he did, with love. Not a sentimental kind of love. Paul, in this text, has a lot of muscle and depth to his words. Don was a hard worker in the art of caring and loving.
That’s why this church is full this morning. That’s why we’re fighting back the tears. Because Don knew how to love. And he did it. Don appreciated the gifts given to him by God.
I read earlier from Psalm 15. It asks who can worship in the sanctuary of the Lord. And we’re told those who worship are those who keep their promises even when it hurts. Those who speak the truth with a heart of love.
You see, Don didn’t go to church very much. But he worshiped in the sanctuary of God’s love. And while I would have loved to have seen Don every Sunday sitting where you’re sitting, the plain truth of the scripture says that you can have faith, you can have hope, but all it is, is a bunch of noise if you don’t have love. Why?