Summary: A funeral sermon based on Psalm 23
The hymn that Muriel requested today is a hymn based on Psalm 23.
You would have heard this song on numerous occasions, especially when people are facing difficult situations and times…
Because it is a Psalm that during times of difficulty reminds us that God is always with us…
And this is not so you never experience difficulties or suffering
But to give you comfort, to guide you, to give you rest amongst the tough times
In fact this Psalm is like someone saying to you I am here for you
I will help you through this
it reflects the hope, the comfort and the future joy
that is available to each one of us today
It is a Psalm that was not just special to Muriel
In choosing this hymn Muriel is passing on a message to each one of us
Muriel is saying to each of us…
If you want to know how I lived for 83 years with all the ups and downs that I had
Listen to Psalm 23
It is a message for you
It is a message for all of her friends, family and anyone else who knew her
Listen to the message again
This time i will read from the New Living Bible translation
The LORD is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the dark valley of death.
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You welcome me as a guest,
anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.
What a message for each one of us to hear…
The message that no matter how tough life get’s
that God is always with us to help us…
God is always with us to comfort us….
to feed us…to serve us
God is always with us to bring us to a wonderful place and generously offering us his kindness and goodness
and from my conservations with the people who knew Muriel well
her life wasn’t always easy
her trust in God gave her comfort
gave her strength
which we have all benefited from
through Muriel God has been part of our lives and brought something special
this is one of the characteristics of being a Christian
Christianity is not about avoiding or being isolated from difficult times
but it is about not being alone
not trying to deal with difficulty times by yourself
instead being a Christian is about experiencing the difficult times like today with other Christians, with other people and with Jesus
this helps us not only develop in character
but it also provide us with the amazing opportunity to truly experience
the love, the grace, the peace, the acceptance that only Jesus can give us
a love, grace, peace and acceptance that is long lasting
And this love is something Jesus wants each of us to have and experience
Muriel first received God’s love as a young child….
in fact as a baby….way back in 1921…
when God said to her you are special to me
welcome to my family
I will always have a place for you
And since then Jesus has been constantly been present in her life..
pursuing her when she was living on the farm in Western Australia
pursuing her when she moved from Western Australia to Tasmania
pursuing her wherever she went
pursuing her with his life…
with his gifts that included a special room in heaven
For Muriel this happened in many different ways….
Her bible reading
When she received Jesus life giving blood in Holy communion
Visits from friends, church members and the various pastors that have served her.
These are all things and people that God placed into her life so that she got a sample of His goodness and kindness
And now she is receiving the full serve of God’s goodness and kindness
Jesus has opened the door to heaven for Muriel
The place where nothing perishes, spoils or fades
And says welcome!!!!
But God’s kindness and goodness is not just limited to Muriel
And she shares this with us today in choosing the hymn,
“The Lord is my shepherd.”
You see God has plenty of love and goodness for each one of us
And even when we reject it
Jesus is patiently offering it to us again and again
In many different ways and situations