21 June 2010

Funeral Homily: "Resting with Good Shepherd Jesus"

Last Friday presented me with a first in my time in the Pastoral Office and a very unique avenue for pastoral care: a "double funeral." I've done multiple baptisms before. I've heard of, though not personally seen or officiated at, "double weddings." But a "double funeral"? It has to be one for a history book somewhere.

Robert and Geraldine Pinkney were long-time members at Hope. They both had been battling various health problems for many years. They moved to Laclede Groves a year or so ago. They both have been in and out of the hospital quite frequently in recent years. On Friday June 11 I  had the privilege of praying with both of them together, and then the Lord took Robert home to be with Him early on Saturday June 12. Funeral plans proceeded as normal.

But then the unexpected happened: Geraldine, Bob's wife, went home to be with the Lord early on Wednesday June 16. Wow! I've heard of and witnessed one spouse "following" his/her beloved into eternity within a few months. But just four days later?! What an incredible situation and what an opportunity to care for the flock of God in this place.

Since the family was in from out of town, and since funeral plans had already been made, we simply included "Gerry" beside her life's companion, Bob. Hence my first (and historic?) "double funeral." We rejoice that our resurrected Lord has taken Robert and Geraldine home to be with Him, and we especially thank Him for His answer to the many, many prayers for healing that have gone up to Him for many years. Robert and Geraldine now have the full and complete healing that only the Good Shepherd, Christ Jesus, our resurrected Lord can give.

A "double funeral" also opens up some pretty great ways to proclaim the Gospel for the comfort of family and friends. As Bob and Gerry lay on either side of the Baptism font in the Laclede Chapel, not only did we get to hear about being baptized into Christ's death and resurrection, but we also got to think of a wedding, especially the wedding of Christ the Bridegroom and His Bride the Church. Even as they lay in their caskets in the chapel, Bob and Gerry provided a picture of the eternal communion of Christ and His Bride! What great comfort!

Here's the homily that I delivered at Laclede Groves Chapel last Friday, June 18. Click on this link, download the audio file, and listen.

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