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  • ivanildotrindade 5:51 pm on January 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dorcas, Funeral, installation service, memorial service   

    Two Services and A Thought 

    Last Sunday I preached on the brevity of life. Little did I know that just a couple of days later a dear friend of mine, John Weaver, would die suddenly in Wooster, Ohio. John’s funeral and memorial service will be this coming Sunday at Wooster Grace and I will have to miss it because it is my installation service at Grace Church, Lititz.

    This turn of events and the coincidence of services have given me much more than pause. What if it was my service in Wooster and John’s here in Lititz? John was a godly man. Though a builder by trade, he could well be a pastor somewhere based on his knowledge of Scriptures and love for people. I, on the other hand, can’t build even walls made of Lego’s.

    The last couple of days I have only heard (and seen) positive, God-honoring comments about John and his legacy. John touched literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of people with his gentle ways, his firm convictions and exuberant love for God’s Word. I just can’t help but think about what people would be saying and writing about me if it was my service there and his service here… Do you ever think that way? And do you think that you would be remembered as a godly person who left a legacy of love for God and compassion for people. Would people would not only you but your character and integrity also?

    Yes, people miss John’s character and integrity. I also miss his generosity. John gave in so many ways. A thoughtful guy, he never missed an opportunity to bless someone, even if he did it behind the scenes.

    Today I thought of Dorcas, “who was always doing good and helping the poor,” according to Acts 9. When she died suddenly, the poor widows who came to her funeral actually brought with them Dorcas’ evangelism tools — the robes and other clothing she had made and given them while she was alive (Acts 9:39).

    What would people bring to my funeral? Only the funny jokes I told or a memory of a time I actually went out of my way to make sure that they were blessed? Scraps of memory from a reluctant follower or a flood of vivid reminders of an unwaivering faith in a God who delivers?

    What would people bring to your funeral? On Sunday the auditorium at Wooster Grace will be filled with people who loved John and there won’t be a single one who will have any doubts where he stood in his love for God and people. I can’t think of a better memory to bring to a funeral. May it be that way for ours as well.

    And sorry for the morbid tone. Death does make us melancholic, especially on the eve of a great celebration.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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    • lionjudah 8:15 am on January 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Pastor Trindade, for opening the discussion of death and dying.

      How can one not contemplate the end of his life? Especially when death knocks on the door of his life. The death angel has knocked at my door a handful of times. He has also knocked at my wife’s door several times, too.

      Marketing firms try to remind us to prepare for the eventuallity of our death. My sister-in-law quipes, ” None of us are going to get out of here alive!”

      Then too, those of us who attend funerals find them to be dress rehearsals of out own home going–that is our own funerals.
      And how can one not attend a funeral and listen to the words of remembrance and ask, “I wonder how will people sum up my life?”

      More importantly, How will God sum up our lives–do we have our reservations made?

      Who does not ask, will my death be sudden without farewells all around usually around a bed of infirmity? or will we need to suffer with lingering pain?
      Or who does not ask, will our money last as long as we do?

      There is a multitude of questions that swirl around ones mind as he winds down his pilgrimage.
      I think it is important to address these questions and plan for your end.

      The one thing I am sure of is, “I have done business with God”

      Because of Jesus,
      Pastor Harold

      • ivanildotrindade 11:44 am on January 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Harold, you are doing just fine with the blog thing based on the 10 minute tutorial i gave u. thank you for sharing your thoughts here. your sister is right but she is not right: some of us will make it alive — 1 Thessalonians 4. Take care!

  • ivanildotrindade 7:56 pm on April 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Cremation, , Funeral, Funeral home, mount zion baptist, my funeral jazz funeral, planning your funeral, rev. e. v. hill, weird funerals   

    "Don't Surprise Me At My Funeral" 

    Do you ever think about your own funeral? Maybe I am weird, but I do sometimes.

    I once went to the funeral of an acquaintance, a man in his mid-sixties who died of a heart attack. As I entered the church, to my surprise, I was greeted by a jazz band playing loud music. The tone was festive, the people were wearing brightly colored clothes, and the air was almost celebratory. More than once we were told “this is how he wanted it,” almost as a veiled admission that something was amiss. I mean, blame it on the deceased. Even the dead are entitled to bad taste.

    Ever since that experience, I have given much thought to how I want my funeral to be. So if you attend it one day, and somebody says “that’s how he wanted it,” bring these notes and feel free to cross-reference them with the funeral. Feel free to protest too, if things don’t go as I asked. I don’t want my funeral to surprise me. So here are some notes to my funeral:

    First of all, while the “jazz funeral” is at one end of the spectrum, at the other end are the uncontrollably sobbing and screaming that goes on in some other funerals. I want neither. Sometimes in Christian funerals people are so quick to play the “absent from the body, present with the Lord” note that they end up suppressing what is a natural, genuine human feeling — the pain of losing a loved one. So at my funeral, I don’t want people to put on an artificial face of comfort but neither do I desire for them to “lose it.” If you are sad, show sadness; if you are happy, show happiness. Just don’t embarrass me at my funeral.

    Secondly, don’t go looking for highlighted texts in my Bible. First of all, while I own many Bibles, most of my Bible reading is done online these days. Also, I am not one who likes to mark books — I am still old-fashioned about approaching books with a certain reverence, whether sacred or not. And when it comes to the Bible, I have never been a “highlighter” because when I used to read more from the printed text I never liked to condition my mind to only look at passages I had previously highlighted. I always want to discover the hidden treasures in this precious Word.

    Don’t look for favorite verses. For all my adult life I have tried to read three chapters of the Bible every day plus one chapter of Proverbs, corresponding to the day of the month. So I like them all, but you could say that if I have a favorite it is a book and not a verse. The most practical and true to life lessons you can find in the Bible are in the Book of Proverbs. Just like the Geico commercial, five minutes of Proverbs can save you from ruining your life — a slightly better advantage over saving 15% in car insurance…

    Thirdly, I have seen a lot of dead people in my life and no matter the expertise of the funeral home, none of those people looked as good dead as they did alive. And I haven’t seen anyone who was already bad turning out to be prince (stiff) charming in the casket… So by all means, no open casket for me. I would rather prefer that the last image people have of me is one of the time I was still alive.

    Fourthly, cremate my body. Some Christians are afraid of cremation because they know that God is going to do something with the body in the resurrection. So if my start-up kit is nowhere to be found, how will they be able to rise again? Silly. Don’t you think that the same God who created you might just have an idea of what your DNA is? God doesn’t have to be a grave-digger to revive your fine constitution. Plus, Paul said that this will be a spiritual body not a physical one. I don’t care where you spread my ashes, all I care about is that I reduce the costs for those left behind.

    Finally, a program note. No long sermon. Music is okay, but no favorite hymns. No exaggerated eulogies. I don’t want people to make me a saint when they talk about what I did. If anybody talks, my preference would be for them to talk about who I was and not what I did. Look for people who can say that felt my  heartbeat. Find someone who cried with me at a long intersection in their lives, someone who saw me when tragedy struck and when life was good. Let them talk about how I handled those situations.

    Then, if you have a moment to spare, show this video by Rev. E. V. Hill, part 3 of the sermon “If I Only Had One Message to Preach” (don’t play parts 1 and 2, only part 3). You may wait until the funeral or you may chose to watch it now. It’s about 8 minutes long.

    How about you? Which notes will you leave for your funeral?

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
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