Friday, August 13, 2010

Celebration of Life Message

On Saturday, August 7th, I gave a message (funeral) to one of my best friends. It was one of the toughest messages to give and I really was not sure which direction to go. Here is what I went with:

Message, Saturday, August 7th

If tears could build a stairway and memories were a lane, we would walk right up to heaven and bring you back again, Polly. No farewell words were spoken and there was no time to say goodbye. You were gone before we knew it and only God knows why. Our hearts still ache in sadness and secret tears still flow down our cheeks. What it meant to lose you, no one will ever know. But now, we know you want us to mourn for you no more and to remember all the happy times we got to experience with you. Life still has much in store and since you'll never be forgotten; we pledge to you today that a cherished place within our heart, is where you'll always stay.

I think that the one thing that I will always remember Polly for will be that she let her heart live out on her sleeve. She was an individual that was unafraid to show her emotions and she lived her emotions out to the fullest. The one emotion and attribute that I will remember the most is the one of compassion.
Definition of compassion: a feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of another, often including the desire to alleviate it

To me, this definition paints Polly perfectly. When she saw someone that was hurting, someone that had injustice done to them or an individual that was going through a hard time, she was there to lift them up out of the murk pit that they were experiencing. This could be seen through the hugs that she gave, the brownies that she made and the tentative ear that she had when individuals needed to dump their burdens.

I am sure that as you sit there and think about Polly and what she meant to you, her kids and this community that many stories flood your mind. I want you to cherish those thoughts, embrace them and hold them up high. Her life and what she did is something to be celebrated and definitely something that is not to be forgotten. In particular, I would like for you to think and ponder specifically on a time when you saw her love and care about the less fortunate or those who were going through a valley of darkness. Grasp tightly to the word justly and how she lived that out.

A few months ago, Polly was up on the 3rd floor of Zion with other families that had attended that night of Sunday Night Live. The evening was over but a few families were still hanging around and talking. Polly was talking about the up-coming mission trip that Katie and Seirra were going to be attending and that turned into a conversation about having a servants heart and making sure that we put others first and not ourselves.

I asked you a few moments ago to grasp tightly to the word justly and this is the reason why. Here was one of her most recent favorite memory verses (Micah 6:8):

God has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

For a moment, I would like you to imagine what our communities would look like if we had individuals who lived these three attributes out. Here is a brief look at how these could be lived out:
act justly means to accept responsibility for the well-being of the weaker members of society:

The Gospels present to us a picture of Jesus Who has compassion on the teeming crowds, Who wants little children to come to Him, Who is concerned about widows, Who heals the sick, Who has mercy on lepers, Who cares for prostitutes, Who can promise forgiveness and salvation to prisoners. He was angry about any and all injustice and treated all people equally.

We can do the same

To love mercy is to be filled with an intense longing to help others, to do kind and compassionate deeds for those who are in need.

Here too we are to imitate God. God, you see, is merciful and full of loving kindness.

Finally, what does the Lord require of you but "to walk humbly with your God."

It means, to live for God and make Him the center of your life. It means to live a life of fellowship with God. It means to give your heart to Jesus who gave His life for you. It means to be filled with the Spirit and the power of Christ so that you are born again and are a new Creation in Christ. It means to spend time with God in prayer and Bible reading. In the New Testament this is called the life of discipleship:

Living for Jesus a life that is true, striving to please him in all that I do,

Living for Jesus is to walk humbly with your God.

Today we are to walk humbly with our God for then and only then can we act justly and love mercy.

So, the next time that you are thinking and remembering of Polly or you are thinking about what you are going to do with your day, please remember one of her new found verses that she lived out. Take a step out of our comfort zone and love those that are around you or extend a hand to someone who is less fortunate and try to lift them up.

Imagine what would happen in your life and the life of the community, if you kept the spirit of Polly alive and served those around you. I want to challenge you to find a way to connect with Wooster and Wayne County and make it a better place.

To the kids, I want to let you know that you will always have a special place in my heart. I thoroughly enjoyed the time that I had the honor of getting to know you and watching you grow. Each one of you is special. Polly loved you immensely, thus carry her on with you as you journey through life.

Prayer Time ….
Irish Blessing to Polly:
Longing For One More Day

When we lose someone we love it seems that time stands still. What moves through us is a silence... a quiet sadness... A longing for one more day... one more word... one more touch... We may not understand why you left this earth so soon, or why you left before we were ready to say good-bye, but little by little, we begin to remember not just that you died, but that you lived. And that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget. We will see you again some day, in a heavenly place where there is no parting. A place where there are no words that mean good-bye.

Let Us Pray
God, we come to you today with heavy hearts. It has been a long 8 days for many of us in this room. Our emotions have ran the gauntlet from being sad and angry about what has transpired to laughter and smiles reliving the memories that Polly and her children have brought us. The journey onward is going to be difficult. We ask us that you grant us peace and that we will be surrounded with comfort and love. We also pray that our eyes and ears will be open to you and that because of the love that you have given to us that we will be able to shower that love to the Baker children and all the support people in their lives. May you be with us as we leave here.

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