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)