Summary: A funeral sermon that I performed for my great-grandfather’s funeral.
The Great Outdoors
My Grandpa Ray and I would often go for walks when I was younger. We would notice the seasons change and often he would give me what was great insight and advice.
You see, as the leaves change color in the days of Autumn and slowly fall to the ground, revitalizing it and preparing it for spring, thus is life for us. We are born as a baby, we go through dark days and then ultimately, for those of us that have accepted the Lord, we will be reborn in Heaven. I hope in the few minutes that I have to spend with you, that we can be comforted by the words of God.
Shall we pray: Out of the depths I cry unto thee, O Lord! Lord, hear my cry. Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication. If thou, Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning. Amen.
There are many seasons in our lives. Just as in a natural year there is winter, spring, summer, and autumn, there is the same in our lives.
The first season that we go through is that of Spring, where we are born into the world. We are infants and are given our every whim. We are taken care of in every way because we can’t do it for ourselves. God does the same for us, he takes care of us a mother would. Psalm 91:4 says that "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge." He takes us under his wing and protects us from the storms of life that we are unable to do on our own. I remember seeing a picture once of a mother bird feeding her children and then in the next picture, you have the same bird and children in the midst of the storm. The mother bird took her great wings and wrapped them around the children. The mother more willing to die than to allow her children to be harmed. God does the same for us, he gives us what we need and teaches us as we go, which brings us to the next season of life, Summer.
Summer is the childhood that we hold onto so dearly. For some we may not have had a great childhood, but for others you had a great childhood and memories to go with it. We play and go on and on with life. In that same way, God allows us the fun that comes in our lives. We continue on learning to live in the way until ultimately we come to the time that we choose between God and the world, Autumn.
Autumn is our adolescence, this is a period of change. We change in more ways than one. We change physically, mentally, emotionally, and one way or the other, even spiritually. We begin to feel like we are immortal and not in need of God or man. We experience our firsts on many things: first love; first heartbreak; first car. As we go through this period we are more and more needing a guide, a shepherd. Ray’s favorite psalm was psalm 23. He also loved cars, and so when I was given this adapted version of the 23rd psalm I couldn’t help but think that this is what Ray felt as he worked on his antique cars and drove them around.
The Ford is my auto, I shall not want.
It maketh me to lie down beneath it.
It soreth my soul and leadeth me into
the paths of ridicule for its namesake.
Yea, tho’ I ride thro’ the valleys,
I am towed uphill.
I fear much evil,
My rods and my engines discomfort me.
I anoint my tires with patches,
My radiator runneth over.
I repair my blowouts in the presence of my
Surely if this thing follows me all the days
of my life,
I shall dwell in the big house forever.
As we move on in life, we finally come to adulthood. We get to the winter of our lives. We are at this point set in careers, most of us by this point have made a decision for the Lord, whether to accept him or not. As we age, we become increasingly aware of the fact that contrary to how we felt as an adolescent, we are not Superman. We have aches and pains, we have highs and lows that seem higher and lower. When we finally reach that time of our end, we can either come to grips with our mortality or we can fight death to the end, fearful of what may come. But the good news is that we do not need to fear.