Dorothy Grattan 12/17/01
Every now and then God decides to add a little something extra special to the family of humanity and wraps it up in a little package that we know as a little girl. This little girl was called Dorothy, not the Dorothy from Kansas, but from Forsythe Ga, who grew here in Cleveland. Dorothy Grattan a daughter, a mother, an aunt, a sister, a cousin, a friend, a wife and a child of God.
Today we celebrate the homegoing of one who decided to let Jesus Christ make a difference in her life. It’s never easy saying goodbye to someone we love and care about. God shares in our suffering and grief in that the Lord knows the loss that we feel. Jesus Himself cried with Mary and Martha in the loss of their brother. But at the same time God gives a special hope in moments like these.
God looks at death in such way, that it can even bring joy to the heart of God. It says in Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Let it be known today that something precious happened in heaven, last ________ morning when Dorothy Grattan breathed out for the last time. Our sister found freedom in both her body and her spirit.
No doubt she’s praising God once again with the restraints of the severe arthritis in her body. We’ve got a reason to be happy for her on this night.
Dorothy Grattan’s death was precious, because she died in the Lord. My friends death has a date set for us all, but that date will only be precious if we die in the Lord. All of life is journey to death. It takes some of us longer than others to reach our destination but be certain, we will arrive, and we will get there on time. Will we be as prepared as Ms. Grattan was when the journey ends. Once we reached that stop, the issue becomes whose waiting for us to give us directions on the other side. Jesus said, "I’m going away to prepare a place for you and I will come back and take you with me that you also may be where I am."
There’s nothing like having a guide when you reach unfamiliar territory. When she saw Jesus about 2:30 in the morning, she knew everything was going to be all right as He began leading her to the place He had prepared.
Some ask if God is loving, why is there death. I see it as, because God is loving there is death. Can you imagine what a burden it would be to have to live life forever in the way we know it here on earth? What it would be to have pain in our bodies, unforgiveness and bitterness in our soul, or to be stuck at the bottom of poverty forever. God has seen all the evil, and the madness, and the pain that goes on in the world, and God decided that at some point this must stop.
That point is death.
God has always wanted to be in close relationship to human beings, because that’s why He created us. We will soon be celebrating Christmas because of God’s love for us. For The bible tells us John 3:16-17
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
God loved us to much to leave us alone, and God knew there was nothing we could do to pay the penalty for the wrong we have done. That is why Jesus Christ entered into the world. Jesus offered himself as a payment for the wrong that we have done. It is through Jesus Christ, that we find the forgiveness and mercy of God. To receive it, we simply acknowledge, yes God I know that I have done wrong and deserve death for it. I ask your forgiveness of my wrong and I accept the work that Jesus Christ has done on my behalf.
I give my life to serve Him in appreciation of the work He has done for me.
Going to heaven is not a matter of having done more good things than bad ones. Going to heaven is dependent on whether you died having accepted the work of Jesus Christ or not. Sister Grattan’s death was precious, not because she lived the holiest and most moral life possible. Her death was precious because she died in Christ. When she died, God smiled and said, "that’s one of mind, take her to one of the rooms my son Jesus has prepared. We’ve been expecting her."
My friend if you were to die today, would God say the same about you.
If God would not, then have you considered the possibility that you may be living your life in vain. The only decision that you make, that will still be affecting you personally 200 years from today, is the decision you make as to whether or not you have chosen to follow Jesus Christ. For only what’s done for Christ is going to last.
We rejoice in knowing that Dorothy Grattan’s living was not in vain. Jesus had made a difference in her life. From the very beginning of our lives God is at work in us whether we know it or not. He gives us gifts, personalities, and temperaments to be used to make this world a better place and to lead others to Himself. When God created Dorothy Grattan, God decided to give her both intelligence and wisdom.
God placed within her the ability to be a creator by giving her the ability to see any pattern and be able to create beautiful clothes. Put a sewing machine near her body and the gift God had placed within her would come alive. Sharon was decked out in the latest fashions not because her parents were rich, but because her mother was a seamstress like none other.
As time passed, severe arthritis entered into her hands, but not even arthritis could rob her of her love and her gift to sew. She would still get over to her machine and produce whatever was in her heart.
She was a creator in the yard. She had a degree in landscaping long before anybody knew it was called landscaping. She would get out into her yard, and put these flowers, and those flowers there, and this bush here, and that bush over there, and before you knew it she had perfected one of the finest of lawns on Kempton Avenue.
She was a creator in the kitchen. She did not go to the school of the culinary arts for her degree in cooking. She was one of the person blessed with the gift of making a meal that would send anybody’s taste buds into the land of happiness. All who were blessed to eat of her meals knew what an outstanding cook she was.
Although these gifts and abilities were important in her life, the real love and joy of her life was centered in her family. She and her husband Benjamin have produced a tribe of kids and grandkids. For her and Ben it all began on a blind date together. That blind date turned into a 38 year love affair that was only ended by the presence of death.
When you asked her, what was about her that got Ben’s attention, she’d let you know, it wasn’t her intelligence, smart though she was, it wasn’t her good looks pretty as she was, and it wasn’t even her cooking, good as it was. She’d say with great pride, it was my pretty legs that got his attention. When they glanced into each other’s eyes. It was love at first sight. She knew then, she did not have to look for any other man to fulfill the dreams in her heart.
As a matter of fact it was almost too much love at first sight because he was in the service. He went AWOL from his duty as a soldier, to come home and marry this woman he couldn’t get off his mind. Fortunately for them both, they had enough sense to let go of each other so that he could go back on duty and finish his time in the service.
Together, they produced a home that they were both very proud of. Things were not always easy for them, but when she said goodbye to him for that final time, no doubt they both would say, their journey through life together with their kids and with their God had been worth it.
Ms. Grattan continued to invest herself into the lives of others. She was the kind of person who was very concerned about others and listened to all that she could about them. Sharon said, “not only was she concerned, she was also nosy”. People enjoyed being around her because she was a very uplifting person. Her son said no matter what difficulty he was going through, she would remind, “well you, now things could be worse than this, so let’s still be thankful.” Ms. Grattan was loving, but she was also frank and going to tell it to you like it was.
She believed in discipline and would be strict with you for your own good. She was at time overly protective from her kids viewpoint. No riding that bike in the street. Even though she was strict, they all knew she was fair.
She believed in giving her boys a choice when it came to discipline. She would let them go out and choose the size switch they were to get their whipping with, but they knew they had better not come back with a switch that was too small or she’d willing help them find a bigger one.
But as the years by, she became more and more lenient, especially with the grandchildren. What grandparent is there that can’t resist spoiling their grandchildren a little bit. After all, you know you can give them back to their parents when they start to get on your nerves.
Her grandchildren saw their grandmother as a strong woman who was there with words of encouragement. Encouraging them to try things they did not think possible and encouraging them to hang in there when they wanted to quit and give up. Her love and encouragement was not reserved simply for her children and grandchildren. Her nieces and nephews felt it too.
One of her nephews said, there was just something special about Uncle Ben and Aunt Dot. We all really like them. Kids growing up in the community were also recipients of her love and concern.
Dorothy Grattan was also a humble person in the way she lived her life for Jesus Christ. She loved the Lord and she loved being in the presence of the saints at Mr. Ararat Missionary Baptist Church. She was never the kind of person who had to be seen or had to be up front.
She was a team player in her work for the Lord. She invested in the lives of the youth by serving as a Sunday School Teacher, and she invested in the bodies of the saints by serving as a kitchen worker using her creative gift of cooking.
Ms. Grattan has been a been a lot of things during her life. A daughter, a mother, an aunt, a wife, a sister, a friend, a co-worker, a grandmother, and a church member. But the greatest of all relationships that Dorothy Grattan has been involved with, is that our sister has been and forever will be a child of God.
Like the apostle Paul, Dorothy Grattan’s life has not been lived in vain. His word of encouragement to us in found in the Scriptures in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 " the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
For those who die without knowing Jesus Christ as their own personal savior, Dorothy Grattan will forever be just a special memory. But for those who die as she died, in the Lord, Sister Grattan is expecting to see us one more time. That one more time is going to last forever for the Scriptures tells us 1 Th 4:13-18 Brothers and Sisters, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men and women, who have no hope.
We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.