Summary: This is a funeral service for a Christian who has had been given the gift of music which he shared in his community, in church and as a public school teacher. Two helpful illustrations
In Jesus Holy Name
Text: Psalm 98:1
“Sing to the Lord a New Song”
Grace, Mercy and Peace to you from our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
_________________ loved music. It was his life. That’s why I have chosen this verse from Psalm 98 as the text on which to center our thoughts today, as we remember the life of ___________. “Sing to the Lord for he has done marvelous things…. The Lord has made his salvation known.” (Psalm 98:1,2)
I realize these may be unusual words to use at the beginning of a memorial service for one who has died. But I believe it is a great passage that describes the life of _________________. We have come together to remember. Love and friendship with ____ and ______ is what brings us together. Our presence is a way to offer comfort. It is an expression of thanks to the family for the joy and pleasure that his musical talents and his friendship has brought to our lives.
The world in which we live does provide us with moments of laughter and joy. There are also times of sadness and grief. Today, our feelings include both as memories are shared. The death of a husband, father and close friend can leave one desolate and empty if you have no hope beyond this earthly life. When you know and accept the promises of Jesus you can see beyond this moment of loss to a bright and glorious future for all who die with faith in Jesus.
It’s all about perspective. Over 35 years ago I remember attending a funeral of a friend in a small rural valley in Missouri. It was held in a small country church on a hill. The white country church was surrounded by the green of the forest, a stream, and the church cemetery. We parked on a gravel road and began our walk up the sloping hill to the church doors. The morning sun was at our back and the green grass and path looked solid, but it was not. The heavy rain from the day before had left the ground soft.
Once we stood at the white painted doors of the church and looked back down the hill you could see a wet and muddy hill. The only thing that had changed was our perspective.
Today, as we sing hymns, listen to scripture and remember a loved one, a friend our perspective is from earth. We stand on this side of death’s door. _______ has a different perspective. That is why I began with the words of Psalm 98. “Sing to the Lord a new song, He has done marvelous things.”
Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so I would have told you… I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am.”
The Bible tells us that Jesus is at the right hand of God the Father, the Creator of heaven and earth. Heaven is the final destination for all who place their trust in Jesus. _____ believed. He knew that Jesus died on the cross and physically rose from the dead. He placed his trust, his eternal future into the hands of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
The question one might ask: “Well what’s going on in Heaven? What is the perspective from heaven?
In the book of Revelation John gives us a visual picture. “…there before me was a door standing open in heaven….A voice said: come up here and I will show you what must take place…”. Before the throne of God John saw “four living creatures and 24 elders” who where worshipping the Lamb of God. “Each one had a harp and they held golden bowls of incense, which are the prayers of the saints and they sang a new song…” (Rev. 4:1ff)
John writes: “I looked and heard the voice of thousands upon thousands of angels….they encircled the throne of God. In a loud voice they sang a new song:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain to received power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.” These are the words of the new song…. I just don’t know the melody….. but ______ does….for he is there. It’s a matter of perspective.
The Apostle Paul writes: “Our citizenship is in heaven” that city of God, the new Jerusalem. When Jesus was crucified, hanging on the cross between two thieves, one of them turned to Jesus and said: “remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him. “I tell you the truth, today, you will be with me in paradise.” It is a matter of perspective.