Summary: This was the message that I gave for my father (James Cline May), at his funeral. He is in a far better place but we shall miss him for a while. Rest in the arms of Jesus Dad.
My Father’s Funeral (James Cline May)
Sunday, November 6, 2005 – 2:30 PM
Today I want to say to all of you who have been so kind during these past few months and days, “Thank you for being there to support us through some trying times. Thank you for your prayers, visits, sympathy and caring. And, I want to say, from all the family, thank you so very much for coming out to help us celebrate the life of my Father. All of you have been a wonderful source of strength and a great help for us all through Dad’s long months of illness, and these final hours as we prepare to lay his body to rest. We thank you, we love you and we appreciate you more than we could ever say.
Today I have a duty, as the Pastor for my Mother and Father for the past several years. It’s duty that shared by any other Pastor when a member of the church is in need. But, for me, it is so more than just a duty that I must perform - it is my greatest honor and privilege to have the opportunity to stand here today and be the minister who can speak to you concerning my own Father’s life and his passage from this mortal realm to the eternal glory that he now is experiencing.
I am so thankful for the Christian heritage that has been passed along to our family.
From my earliest years, I have a few memories of the old Brush Arbor near my Grandfather’s home, where I heard gospel music and preaching more than once. I didn’t grasp the meaning of it all then, but the sights and sounds made their impression and started me on my journey toward Jesus. Thank you Dad, thank you Mom, for starting your family on that journey that led us to know the Lord Jesus Christ.
I can remember the days that came a few years later, when we would sit on simple wooden plank pews, those pews rested on the rough surfaced concrete floor of the little church that my Grandfather, with the help of many others including my Dad, built near where that brush arbor had stood. How many times I went to that church I really don’t know, but I will never forget how hard it was to sleep on hard concrete floors and wooden slat pews during the service. I think they may have made it that way just so people couldn’t sleep during church.
I can remember the days at Galvez Pentecostal Church when we would all go to Sunday School. I told Sis. Annie Alford just last night of my memories of the penny marches that we used to have to help support the church. Of course all I thought of then was that it was fun to walk in front of everybody and drop my pennies. That’s where I believe that I began to learn of the privilege of being able to give to the Work of the Lord.
I can remember the time, at the age of 12 when I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and began my service to God in earnest. From that day to this, through all the twists and turns; through all of the faults, failures and successes in life; my own journey toward Heaven continues.
Thanks to the Christian Heritage that was passed down by my Dad and Mom, I can stand here to today, on Dad’s behalf and tell all of you about the life of my Dad and about the Jesus that he loves so much.
If there can be such a thing as defining a life, I think that Dad’s life would defined with three terms: “Quiet strength, practical love and a peaceful heart.” He was soft-spoken, but firm in his beliefs and unbending in his convictions. He was a man who spoke few words unless he felt he had something constructive to say, and when he did speak out, what he had to say was something worth hearing. Though he was a man of fewer words than others - what he did, and how he lived spoke volumes.
He was always ready to give a helping hand, and he loved going to the house of God. I can remember as a kid, that every preacher who came through town with car troubles would find a helping hand in Dad. In fact, I’ve never known a time when he wasn’t willing to help anyone that he could.
Most people, and maybe even some of you, did not know the sense of humor that he had, but there were times when that sense of humor would shine.
He told me of one experience when he was a boy cutting wood for the stove and fireplace. Ants had gotten into the sandwiches that he had brought for lunch. When he saw the ants he told them, “You have 10 seconds to get off or be eaten.” He counted to 10, brushed off the ants that he could, then ate the sandwiches; ants and all, because they were not going to get his lunch.