I want to start my remarks by saying what an honor it is to be invited to participate in this celebration of Mr. ________ life. I can come to the celebration because in life he and the rest of his family included me in the more normal situations and allowed me to be a part of their family.
Let me get something out of the way right now. Mr. ____ did not live a perfect life. He made his share of mistakes and even BAD choices along the way. He tested the endurance of his families love from time to time.
Funny, It sounds like I am giving a description of my life and perhaps some of you can identify with the humanity of Mr. _____ as well.
Maybe that is the part of life that we need to celebrate at a time like this. The human things that make us unique and special and end up being the things that people end up missing when our earthly existence is changed to an eternal one.
Things like a genuine welcoming smile that hinted at a little craftiness when the preacher down the street knocked on the screen door. The way he would cut his eyes to one side and look over his glasses as he talked about his Grandchildren.
The humble spirit that was in his voice when he would ask for prayer.
There was also a passion the seemed to burn in a special way at the ball field. There were moments when he could make an umpire sweat. My son was on the opposite team and he would tell me that he hated to see us lose even before the game had started.
Listen to a short piece of scripture that talks about Abraham:
Hebrews 11:9-10 (Abraham)
9 By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Tents can be a good thing to have around for shelter. When a hiker is in the mountains, enjoying the outdoors, and needs a place to rest, a tent is just what is needed. There, within the tent, he can find a place to lie down, to rest and sleep and be refreshed.
How wonderful to be safe inside a tent when the weather is bad outside. Tents, while good for their purpose, over time … wear out. But no one likes to be in a tent that is leaky, with the fabric torn, and the tent poles collapsing. It’s not much of a tent anymore.
The Bible describes our bodies as tents. Tents are very temporary, and while they are wonderful for their intended purpose, we don’t expect to live in a tent forever. The longer we are on the road the more we desire to go home and live in a house. Something more sturdy and dependable than a tent.
_______ tent had given many years of service. But, He had become increasingly frustrated by his inability to do the things he was used to do.
I don’t know when it happened. I don’t know how it happened. But, sometime in the last few years Mr. Perry figured out that this life is only temporary.
Now don’t get me wrong, he loved this life, primarily because almost everything he loved was in this place. Because of that, he was willing to endure a lot of discomfort because of his love for his family. It was pretty much by stubborn will that he endured all the things that the doctors threw at him. That he held on to a hope that God could do anything and that he might have just a little more time to spend with his family.
God Gives us all an appointed time to live and only he knows that the day and hour when he will have us put away the temporary home and come to live in a permanent place.
This last week, God called ______ to come home to his new home. He is now, very much alive, in the presence of God, in a place where there is no sickness, no weeping or sorrow.
So let us not mourn for Larry, Daddy, Grandpaw, ________; rather, let us mourn for ourselves who are without him, still living in our own tents.
Someday we will put down our tents, and go to be with our heavenly Father.
All Glory be to God.