Summary: This message was preached for a man who had experienced significant health problems and died in their mid 60's.
Memorial Service for Gordon Brown
2nd Corinthians 5:1-10
Good afternoon. My name is David Henderson and I am the pastor of Eagle’s Landing Baptist church. I have known Mary and Ann for about 15 years. I am honored to be chosen to speak to you today. I want you to know that I am very sorry for your loss. I know that each of you knew Gordon in different ways and so your grief will be different as well. I am praying for you and asking God to help you through this very difficult time.
Today we find ourselves in the valley of death that the Psalmist talked about….it is a difficult place to be but as the psalmist talks about it is also a place where we can experience the presence of God. These words were written down by the shepherd boy, David. Like all of us, David went through some difficult times. In the previous psalm, Psalm 22 we hear David cry out to the Lord with these words, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? We don’t know exactly what he was going through but we do know he was hurting. He experienced grief in the loss of his infant son who was only 7 days old. So he was familiar with this valley of the shadow of death. This valley is an actual place in the Holy Land/Israel. When people would walk through that area as they were traveling they would often be in danger for their lives. They could be robbed, beaten or even murdered. But David said that when he walked through that place he was not afraid…because God was with him…His rod, his staff they comfort me. These were items of protection. God still gives that protection and help to us today. In fact I believe that He is more present at the time of death than perhaps any other time.
Years ago when my children were younger we had decided to purchase our first tent and take out kids camping. They loved it. We could fish, see the mountains and we could do all of this on a pretty low budget. So we decided to invest in our first tent. We were in the hills of Arkansas camping…had a long day and laid down for the night to get some rest. It began to rain…I enjoy listening to the rain at night but not when I am in a tent. But we all fell asleep in the safety of our tent. When I woke up the next morning my boys were already awake and they were laughing at me because the tent had developed a leak in the middle of the night and my head was lying in a small puddle of water. So I wasn’t very happy in our new tent.
The apostle Paul in writing in the NT describes our bodies as a tent. And because it was Paul who said that, it has a lot more meaning to us. In churches in that day, the pastors were not paid much by the church, if they were paid at all so they had to also have a another job as well. The Bible tells us that Paul was a tentmaker. He would have been familiar with the fabric, how it was sewn together and he would have known the downside of what sometimes happens to a tent, as it did to ours that night. Listen to what he has to say about this.
2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (LB)
For we know that when this tent we live in is taken down-when we die and leave these bodies- we will have wonderful new bodies in heaven, homes that will be ours forevermore, made for us by God himself and not by human hands. How weary we grow of our present bodies. These earthly bodies make us groan and sigh, but we wouldn’t like to think of dying and having no bodies at all. Now we look forward with confidence to our heavenly bodies realizing that every moment we spend in our earthly bodies is time spent away from our eternal home in heaven with Jesus. We know these things are true by believing, not seeing. And we are not afraid, but are quite content to die, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So our aim is to please Him always in everything we do, whether we are here in this body or away from this body and with Him in heaven. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged and have our lives laid bare – before Him.
BRIEF OBITUARY INFO
In Gordon’s last years he would understand this concept of our bodies being like a tent. His health began to decline. The tent that he lived in began to weaken. It wasn’t as strong anymore. Paul said this….these bodies make us groan and sigh. These bodies make us groan and sigh. When we get sick. We groan and complain. When arthritis sets in we moan. When we step on the scales and they say we are gaining weight we moan! Our bodies are much like a tent; they rip and they tear, they wear out, they grow old and they don’t last as long as we would like for them to. And so we must turn our lives over to Jesus and live for Him and then the scripture assures us that we will have a home in heaven and receive as new body. He assures us that in this home in heaven