Summary: There can be comfort, even in the brevity of life, by knowing the Lord. [This is as shared at the funeral - names excluded].
ECCLESIASTES 3:1 – 8 [AV]
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
We have come to a moment of great sadness as we pay tribute to the memory of M. W.. I knew M. through knowing E.. What a privilege is mine to have been asked to take this Service, and to pay my own tribute to M.. A man of character, a big man with a big heart. I have been impressed by his support of E. in her activities at H. C. Church, and also at H. C. E. Centre, where with us she has worked as a volunteer serving the local community. There will be a gap left by the passing of M., for he was greatly loved and will be missed by many.
It is good at times like this, in moments of great sorrow, to turn for comfort and strength to the Word of God.
The Scripture chosen by E. that we read earlier, speaks of there being a time for everything. This is something we can find hard to accept. We gladly accept the nice, happy parts, but when it speaks of there being a time to mourn, and even a time to die, we find that hard to accept. But with the wisdom that the Lord has, which is far above ours, it becomes real and acceptable. ‘To everything there is a season’. At a time like this we need to remember that in God’s order there is a time to weep, and it helps us to bear the sorrow we feel when we allow the tears to flow, as we face the fact that there is also ‘a time to die‘. We must also remember that ‘weeping may be for a night, but joy comes in the morning‘.
We read in the Scriptures of the God who loved so much that He gave His only Son to die for us. Can there be greater love than that? God cares for you and me! It is at a time like this that we can feel vulnerable, and need reassurance, a time when we hurt because we miss a loved one
You will remember that Jesus said “I lay down my life”. He knew that there was ‘a time to die‘. For Him to die. Here is One, the Son of God who is interested in each one, interested enough to die for us, and who now calls us to follow Him. It is in the closeness of His presence that we find encouragement and strength at a time like this?
Here we are, come to pay tribute to the memory of M. W., a relative and a friend. No wonder there is sorrow at such a time as this. We cannot deny that there will be an ache in many hearts because of this loss.
This then is the time to draw near to the Lord, the time when we hurt because we miss our loved one. It is at this time that we need to allow the Lord to care for us. Right here in this gathering, as you lift your heart to the Lord, you too can find the Peace of God coming into your heart. We need to come to Him to find His rest; to hear the comfort of His voice speaking to our hearts.
The Lord said, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” What a wonderful promise from the One who loves with an eternal love, the One who cared enough for His each one to lay down His life for them. How good to personally know such a God as this, at a time when we need someone to help us in our time of sorrow.
Earthly friends, with all the best intentions, can tell us that they care, but that does not meet the full need. It does help, but it does not remove the ache from the heart. This is when we need our Heavenly Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is able to bring comfort where there is grief. He can bring peace where there is distress. He can bring joy even in the valley of tears. Does your heart ache? Then turn to the Lord Jesus. He wants to help you right now. The Word of God tells us to ’cast all our cares on Him, for He cares for us’. We see how much He cares, by His act of laying down His life for us, we who were lost and under condemnation. It is good to know that ‘God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him’, and bring us eternal life, through His death and our acceptance of His provision.