Summary: A funeral sermon for my great-grandmother
Friends and family members, we all have memories of Pearl, our mother, grandmother, and friend. By the end of this service, I pray that God would make clear those memories that he wishes us to recall to help us through this difficult time.
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Let us pray, God, we here are grieving and many of us right now must confess that we find it difficult to hold on to our faith. We wonder: Why Pearl? Why now? Strengthen our faith, O God. Overwhelm our questions and pain by reaffirming within us and among us the depth of your unfathomable love revealed in Jesus, the Christ, our crucified and risen Lord. Amen.
As I shared we all have memories of Pearl, my memories of grandma are ones that I will never forget. I recall those Christmas get-togethers when the living room would be so full of family that one could barely walk through. I remember the great food that Grandma would make, whether it was her tapioca pudding, which no one has quite been able to duplicate, or her buckeyes, or whatever. Grandma was a great cook and an even better grandma.
One other thing I will always remember about Grandma was her sense of humor. Grandma always had a smile on her face as anyone would walk in.
William Shakespeare wrote in "Sonnet 81":
…your memory death cannot take,
…Your name from hence immortal life shall have,
…When all the breathers of this world are dead;
You still shall live – such virtue hath my pen –
Where breath most breathes, even in the mouths of men.
What Shakespeare is saying is that memories are important. God gives us memories as well as funerals because in his infinite wisdom he knows that we left here need a sense of closure. We need to know that even though Grandma is no longer physically among us, she never really leaves us.
As time goes on, we may forget what she looked like or where she lived or the deer statues in her yard that we kids used to play on and get yelled at for doing so, but we will never forget Grandma and the sweet lady that she was.
Edwin Markham said it this way:
Let us not think of our departed dead
As caught and cumbered in a grave of earth;
But think of death as but another birth,
A new freedom for the wings outspread,
A new adventure waiting on ahead,
A new joy, more ethereal mirth,
A new world, with friends of nobler worth
Where all may taste a more immortal bread.
Earlier I said that I pray that God would help us through this time, and he does. In Hebrews 13:5 Jesus tells us, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you." It is important to realize that he gives us memories so that we can realize that he is there with us. He us reminding us not to think that Grandma's passing is the end but rather a second birth.
Let us pray: Father God, we are reminded at this time of your words in Romans 6 where we are told, "All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." We praise you for the opportunity to see grandma someday in that celestial gathering of saints that preceded us. Father, we ask that you would be with us as we leave this place to say our final goodbye to the one we love. We pray for your love and guidance at this time and thank you in advance for it. Amen.