Saturday, May 12, 2012

Remembering the Dead

On Friday, May 11, I presided at a funeral service for Frances Griffin. She was a life-long resident of Brighton, Michigan who lived to 104. She was baptized and confirmed at the Methodist Church and, even after being home bound in her last few years, continued to receive monthly communion. Frances was a steady, gracious force for her family and her friends. She was faithful. I am giving thanks.

On Saturday, I attended the memorial service of Paul Geer. Paul was a faithful member of Lexington United Methodist Church. Back in the mid-1970's, he was the leader of the United Methodist Youth Fellowship. I credit him for pulling together a group of kids from our small town and teaching us to care for one another. I learned from him that I was both lovable and capable at a time in my life that I had my doubts. In his leadership and care, I experienced the grace of God. Rev. Tim Ziegler officiated at Paul's memorial service. He testified to Paul's life of faithfulness that was known in his church, in his family and throughout community. Tim asked those present, hundreds of people overflowing the sanctuary, to stand if Paul had invited them, mentored them, befriended them or been an example for them. Everyone stood. His life was lived as a testimony to the goodness of God and God's creation. I am giving thanks.

On Monday, May 14, I will preside at my uncle's funeral, Woodrow Loshaw. Uncle Woody was the one in the family that was often overlooked in the busyness of getting on with life. His mother saw him as the one that needed to be helped, to be protected. Woody's brothers and sisters supported him, as they were able. He lived a simple, quiet life. And Woody's life narrative would end there, except for the witness of his co-workers. In these last days, as family gathered around Woody's hospital bed, co-workers stopped in to talk about the man they knew. The family heard stories of generosity, humor and friendship. They heard that the life Woody led was deeper, broader and richer than they could have imagined. I am giving thanks.

Some will wear their goodness like a humble coat through the years, an example seen by others. Some will offer themselves in service and compassion as if the well would never run dry. And some, will leave a legacy, brought to light in the darkest of time. God works in us and through us. I am not sure we always get to choose how that happens. What we can choose is how we will acknowledge the gifts. I am giving thanks.

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