Friday, July 15, 2005

Two Funerals

In the past couple of weeks, two funerals have caught my attention. The first one was one Monday and was the funeral of a dear departed saint at Otter Creek. Jayne Harley was one of those ladies that had this quiet sense about her. She and her husband have been servant hearted their entire lives, working overseas and in prison ministry and I’m sure many other things that no one will know about.

To hear her eulogized on Monday after her battle with cancer was one of the most beautiful things to be a part of. She was described as a servant of Christ, one who put the Kingdom ahead of personal gain and material things, one who loved and was loved. As she approached death, she didn’t think of herself, but she asked her children not to lose their faith because God didn’t choose to heal her. It was a beautiful testimony to a life of faith.

It was also a quiet funeral (definitely reflecting Jayne). We sang some of her favorite hymns, her sons talked, and other friends said a couple of words.

The other funeral that caught my attention was Luther Vandross’. I didn’t attend this one, but caught snippets of it in the news. It was loud and raucous. It was full of spirit (Spirit?) and it was also a celebration. One of the things that caused my throat to catch was that when the pallbearers lifted up his coffin, the entire congregation cheered like they were at a sporting event or a party. And it was beautiful. It didn’t even seem like a goodbye. It seemed like “Thank you! We love you!”

Two funerals for two different people. One public, one private. One with television cameras, one with just a hundred people or so. One loud, one quiet. Both reflections of the people and both beautiful, hopeful reminders that this life is only temporary. What is left is how we touch other people. Do we touch them for the Kingdom or for selfish gain?

David Franzoni (through Maximus) is right. What we do in life echoes throughout eternity.


Tony Arnold said...

Phil, below are the lyrics to a song that just happened to be in my car CD player while I was driving in the rain to Jayne's funeral on Monday. I thought it applied perfectly to the Harley family. God's providence in making sure I heard it at that precise moment. It is a beautiful, subdued acoustic song.


Not Forgotten
by Peter Frampton and George Kennedy; from the album NOW, 2003

What do you do when you learn, there's no tomorrow.
Hold hands, sing songs, live life; 'til you're gone
But not forgotten

What do you do when your sad, and heavy laden
You reach deep, and beyond; give love, 'til you're gone
But not forgotten

For those who went before, why are they remembered?
The held our hands, and sang us songs, lived their lives, 'til they were gone
But not forgotten

Find your light, turn it on, shine it down on everyone
Find your light, turn it on, shine it down on everyone
Find your light, shine it down on everyone

Jana said...

Great thoughts, Phil. Two completely different celebrations, but both celebrations all the same!

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