Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bad Day? Go to a Funeral

We hosted a memorial service for a 23 year old killed in a car accident. It was a great funeral! His name was Will Wiersma. He came to church a couple of times. He roomed with our interim Student Ministries Director and was a hard-core ultimamte Frisbee player. In fact, that's how he died, returning from an Ultimate tournament when their car hit a coyote and he and the driver were killed.
Why was it a great funeral? Not because a young man died, but because it was a radical and powerful reminder to me of ultimate things. Too often I get all wrapped up in sub-ultimate stuff; like church budgets, staff search, member needs, personal finance, hair loss, weight gain, aging, decriptude..... See where that goes. I get all wrapped up in me and my little issues here and now.
The preacher for the funeral was Ben Patterson, Campus Chaplain at Westmont College. Part of his message was a reminder from the first articles of the Heidelberg Catechism. Will came from a solid Christian Reformed background in Western Michigan (I know it well having served 7 1/2 years in Muskegon, Michigan). This catechism reminded us that we are not our own, but we belong to God. Ben read from Job how God give and God takes away, and blessed be the name of the Lord. He reminded me of the fragile gift of every relationship, none of which I own or are permanent. I must confess that I keep forgetting those things. I think I own things and people. I think I own my children and their futures. I think I own my career and my current church. I think I own my health and my assets. I don't. I'm a steward. All that I have has been given to me and God wants it all back...better. I entered this world naked...and that's the way I will go out. I was hoping to find a photo of a casket with a trailer hitch!! As if we can take stuff along with us.
So after the funeral, Martha and I went for a long walk in the sunshine on the beach, collected rocks for her garden and then had a long cafe ole' in the setting sun. That's what it's about!!


At 9:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only did you forget to UN-MUTE but you were reading my mind. Worried of my personal earthly inconvienences, I felt overwhelmded. Only after wiping back tears and trying to swallow during the looping slide show of a vibrant hopeful youth lost before his and his families time did i realize how hopeful my future is. Today in pain and uncertain of my occupational and financial future, I volunteered in my Sanctuary to help facilitate a celibration of life and morn a great loss. Later in the day my wife helped coordinate and celebrate the union of marriage and hope for the future, between a Man and Woman in the same sanctuary.
I've asked the Lord to guide me in this time and asked Him to use me for the tasks He has chosen. He does not always speak clearly to me, almost like trying to decifer a 60's rock lyric, ubscure poem or rap lyrics. Today He spoke! Still not sure were He's leading, but He spoke. Blessings to family and friends of the parted, He must have been a wonderful young man, and may they know he is with the Father! Peace

At 9:29 AM , Anonymous Kris said...

Amen, Don - especially to those last lines. The most simple and yet so marvelous times we can have each day (walking with a loved one, a cup of coffee with a friend, etc.) are what it is all about. God is good!


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