Last night I received an email from my good friend, Nancy, who is also one of our faithful readers. She mentioned that she had been at a funeral and the music was just lovely. In her words:
In keeping with the blog, I went to the funeral yesterday of a dear friend from church. It was the most singing at a funeral that I have ever experienced, and it was perfect. One of the songs we sang was the “Hymn of Promise” that I had sent to you. And we sang a medley of last verses of six old hymns that all spoke of heaven and Jesus coming to “take us home.” There were more hymns- all were affirmations of faith and hope.
This made me think about the songs that uplift me in times of grief. One of my favorites is “I Know that My Redeemer Lives.” It’s an Easter song, based upon Job 19:25-26
“I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth, and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.”
I can’t imagine anything more comforting and hopeful than that word picture. Here’s the whole hymn, in case you don’t know it:
I was recently at a funeral where this poem was recited. It speaks to June’s theme about how to use our time and also this month’s theme of relationships (aren’t they, in the end the most important way to spend our time?) I can’t copy it, because the author requests that only the link be posted, but I hope you will follow the link, read the poem, and then let the Lutheran Ladies know how you are using your dash.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31
A few days ago, I went to my Aunt’s funeral. When I was thinking about her before the service, the word that came into my mind to describe her was “kind.” Surprisingly, the Pastor who spoke about her used the same word. He had known her since her younger child was born. He said he could not remember her ever saying a harsh word about somebody else. If she was sometimes irritated or angry, she had learned to keep those feelings to herself. She enjoyed children and taught Sunday School for thirty-five years. He also said that she enjoyed cooking and baking. She would often visit the elderly, ill or shut in members of her congregation to take them a meal or a treat. In fact, he told us that when he entered a home to visit, he was often greeted with the words, “Lois Stover has already been here …would you like one of her brownies?” I bet most ministers would love to have a member like that!
Aunt Lois had some gifts–teaching and serving. She invested them in loving others, not only her family but those often ignored or forgotten. The room was filled with people who remembered her caring and kindness. I’ve heard that many will forget what you say, but they will never forget what you do for them. It seemed true in Aunt Lois’s case.
What words will be spoken at your funeral? Will the Pastor say you used your gifts wisely to help others? Or will he struggle to find something worthwhile to commend? Will others remember you as a person they admired and cared for? Or will they be there only out of duty? Will you hear God’s words, “well done, good and faithful servant?” or will He say, “I never knew you.”
Use your talents like the wise servant. Spend them on others.