Summary: A Memorial Service for an older believer in our congretation. The text the family asked for was the 23rd Psalm.
Opening Remarks & Prayer
Read Obituary/Letters from family members
Hymn (In the Garden)
One of George’s favorite passages from the Bible is Psalm 23. In Psalm 23 we see the image of the Lord being our shepherd in both the peaceful days and in the difficult days. Ps. 23 tells us that the good shepherd is with us beside the green pastures and in the valley of the shadow of death.
Read Psalm 23
George was from a generation where the church was more of a central part of community life than it is today. More people went to church and tried to make a difference through involvement in their church. People didn’t allow other things to compete with the church. From everything that people have told me, I know that the work of the church was important to George. As long a he was able he was here faithfully, he was doing everything he could to help, mowing the lawn, working on the building. I hope that for those of us who remain behind, the work of the church will continue to be important, so that God’s church can be a light in a dark world.
Martin Luther once said “Faith is a matter of personal pronouns” in other words, it is one thing to say, “The Lord is a Great Shepherd’ and it is another thing to be able to say “the Lord is my Shepherd”. But before we can truly say, with David, as George could, “The Lord is my Shepherd” we must have a personal relationship with Him.
But the Lord being your shepherd requires more than just simply believing that He exists. The bible says in James 2:19 “You believe that there is one God. You do well! Even the demons believe-and tremble.” The question that each of us have to consider today is “have I established a personal relationship with the shepherd?” Have you turned to Him, admitted you’re a sinner and asked that He save you?
What George formerly believed by faith, he now sees. Although he is no longer here with us, he is in the presence of God today. The verse that we have read from Ps. 23 are particularly releveant for us today because they talk to us about the “walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” And while having Jesus as our shepherd does not grant us immunity from sorrow, it does assure us of His Presence and of His promises. This morning I would like for us to take a moment and consider both of these.
David wrote “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.”
Wouldn’t it be great if God would simply promise us that we would never go through difficult times! But those difficult times will come to each of us. What God does promise is that he will be present with us to help us. He is here with us through the dark times the difficult times of life, God is with us, to comfort and sustain us.
David tells us that His rod and His staff will comfort us. One of the images the Bible frequently uses to describe God is that of a shepherd who cares for and tends to His flock. The shepherd would use his rod to fight off dangerous animals and to guide the sheep as they walk. The staff with it’s large crook at the end would serve to support the sheep’s body when it crosses a dangerous trail.
In the same way, God, the good shepherd protects us, guides us, and supports us. He doesn’t send us through the dark valley saying “I hope you make it through okay… and if you do, I’ll meet you at the other end.” No he is with us every step of the way.
God not only promises that He will be with us every step of the way as we go through life, He also promises that at the end of our lives we will be with Him for all time.
5-6 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Not everyone can say “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Only those that have a personal relationship with the shepherd.
Beyond this life is the Father’s house that Jesus spoke of, a place we refer to as heaven. Jesus said “let not your hearts be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”