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Summary: A funeral sermon for an elderly woman in one of my congregations

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The Gardens of Life

Velda Wendel 3-12-05

Before Sermon – Play The Old Rugged Cross & In The Garden

Friends and family of Velda Wendel, we are gathered together for a rather sad occasion. The loss of a loved one is never easy nor should we expect it to be. Today, I pray that you will be able to find some closure.

Let us pray, Out of the depths we cry unto you, O Lord! Lord, hear our cry. Let your ears be attentive to the sound of our supplication. If you, Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared. We wait for the Lord, our souls wait, and in his word do we hope. Our souls wait for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning. Amen.

Velda loved to garden, she loved to see plants that she had tended grow to full life and hated to see the birds picking her cherries or seeing anything happen to her rhubarb. There are several gardens in our own lives that can be easily relatable to the Biblical gardens.

The first garden of life we come to is the Garden of Eden. Eden was the birthplace of mankind, and as such is similar to our own birth and childhood. Velda was born in 1909 in Carroll County, Indiana. Birth and childhood are generally carefree times that we all strive to allow our children to have. Velda was given some wonderful kids, and I know that they all speak very highly of her.

The garden of Eden was a beautiful garden, said to be the most beautiful of all time, better than the hanging gardens of Babylon, a wonder of the Ancient World, better than gardens found in palaces around the world, and yes, better than Velda's own gardens. A lot could be said about the beauty of the Garden of Eden, and I think that like Velda, we too would like just to take some time to go out and smell the roses.

Sadly, the Garden of Eden is also the place where we first see trouble in the Bible; it is the place where the first sin took place. This leads us to our second garden, the Garden of Gethsemane.

Gethsemane is the garden where Christ went to pray to God just prior to his crucifixion. Gethsemane is known for the agony that Christ felt as he prayed, and it is recorded that as he prayed, tears of blood came flowing from his eyes. Our lives are not always the bed of roses we would like them to be. Velda knew this, she had had her ups and downs including the lose of her husband, Vilas, and the difficulties that old age brings with it including realizing that you need someone to watch over you and also being put into the nursing home.

We too have a loss that we will have to cope with and in time move on from. We will miss mom, grandma, and our friend every time we see an empty chair that she would sit in, we will miss her when we look at her old house and see someone else living in it, and we will miss her every time we see a garden and think back to Velda's own gardens that she loved and cherished. We can be thankful however, that the dark garden of Gethsemane and all the pain that it reminds us of is not the end of the story, nor is it the end of our tour of Biblical gardens.

The final garden that I will remind you of is the resurrection garden that Christ first appeared in on that Easter morning. We can now know that Velda is at home in this most beautiful garden with her father, God. Velda knew Christ in a personal way and as such is now at home in heaven where she can meet up with Vilas and all the others that preceded her. The resurrection garden is the garden that awaits every believer.

There is a poem that has been handed to me from a family member that they would like read. It is entitled Under The Sweetheart Tree.

I am setting under the sweetheart tree just waiting for you.

Our time has come to be together once again

Your days on earth are finally through and by my side you will be.

Together we walk hand in hand through the streets and across the land.

Enjoying life's pleasures here in the Promised Land.

Our home you will be glad to see

How special it is to you and me the things we thought we would never have.

To see our friends both good and bad; To remind us of the fun we all had

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