Friday, December 5, 2008

Funeral for Bessie Phillips

One of our members passed away this week. Her funeral will be held Saturday December 6, 2008 at Goshen Baptist Church and her burial will be at the church graveyard. Her husband had been a deacon and she served as the church clerk for decades. I encourage everyone to attend the funeral or the visitation (on Friday) and help the family during this time of morning.

As a new pastor, I do not know every member. There are many members who are shut-ins and are unable to attend church on a regular basis or at all. Recently, I have been able to visit and call many of them. Bessie was one of them.

I contacted her the Monday before Thanksgiving and we spoke for about 20 minutes on many things. I introduced myself, we talked about her health, her experience with the church for so many years, her work as a clerk, who I was, who my family was, where we were from, etc. I really enjoyed our conversation. I was eager to meet Mrs. Phillips.

The week came for my visit and at church it was brought to my attention that she was in the hospital. The next day I swung by and paid a visit. For the first time, and only time, I met Mrs. Phillips. She had been told that there was a good chance that she would get to go home the next day. Excited I sat down and we continued our conversation. She was such a blessing.

Before leaving, I prayed with Mrs. Phillips. I thanked God that he had allowed her to go home. Little did I know that within a few hours, she would go home, though not the home we had been talking about. God had called her home into His arms where she is to this day. As Christians we are to mourn the loss of a loved one but rejoice that she has returned to her heavenly home. We are not citizens of this world and Mrs. Phillips is walking the streets of gold. So though we mourn, we rejoice nonetheless.

I want to briefly reflect on the legacy that Mrs. Phillips will have in my life. I will be reading the Lord's Prayer at her funeral and the chairman of the deacons will be performing the funeral. A text that comes to mind to me is Jesus' prayer in the Garden just prior to his arrest. Why? Because it is there that we see Christ on His knees awaiting the sacrifice that would redeem many.

Likewise, I will always remember Mrs. Phillips as a woman of prayer. Why? Because whenever I asked if she would like to pray, her countenance chanced and she was eager to speak to her Lord. There was an eagerness there. Not just for health, but to be drawn into His presence. In the garden we are confronted with desperate prayer for God's Will and at the same time propitiation for sins. Mrs. Phillips has been forgiven and is in heaven with Her Lord because of the death and resurrection of Christ. And I will always remember her as a woman of prayer. What a legacy!

No comments: