Extraordinary Service

Easter Sunrise Service

Easter Sunrise Service – by Joanna Reid

Last week, I had the great honor of participating in my father’s funeral…the celebration of Papa’s homecoming!

I know that phrasing sounds unusual…but it was an unusual service…an extraordinary service, really!

I’ve attended a fair number of funerals over the years.  I’ve deeply grieved the loss of close loved ones, including a brother and three nieces.

Never have I attended a funeral service like this one.

Never have I attended a funeral where so many of the immediate family were directly involved in the service:

 

 

  •  The above portrait of Papa, titled Easter Sunrise Service, painted by my sister, Joanna, was displayed at the front of the church, beside the casket.  Not only do I remember the service depicted in the painting, but I also recall Papa leading many similar services.
  • Four of my sisters, Ruthie, Susanna, Melody and Dorcas, sang and/or played various hymns at different times during the service.
  • Susanna read a paper by her son, Peter, titled Peter’s Memory of His Grandpa, before singing The Lamb and the Lion, a hymn Papa wrote.
  • Melody sang Heaven’s Applause, a hymn she wrote, herself.
  • My brother-in-law, Scott, gave a brief message before reading the obituary.
  • I gave a message about Papa’s life focus.
  • The service was closed by all of our family standing and singing (a cappella) All Hail the Power of Jesus Name.

Never have I attended a funeral so filled with joyful worship!  Yes, it was a solemn occasion, but it was also a joyful occasion.  As we worshipped, the presence of the Holy Spirit filled our service, uniting us with Heaven’s celebration.

To understand the deep joy, you would have to understand Papa’s life focus, described in my message, here.

What a legacy!  To live life in such a way that, at one’s funeral, children and grandchildren lift their voices in joyful worship of God!

You know, it’s a funny thing…in the week since that service, the joy has lingered.  Somehow, Papa doesn’t feel any further away.  Rather, Heaven feels a lot closer.

Thank you, to each person who has been praying for us and sending notes of encouragement.  Thank you to those who honored Papa by attending the funeral service or by serving food afterwards.  Thank you to the pastors and church members who helped organize our celebration of Papa’s life.

Thank you, especially, to my dear sweet family!  I am so thankful to have each of you as part of my life!

Blessings to each of you, today and throughout this coming Holiday season!

 

[Linked to Messy Marriage, Graceful, Wellspring ]

 

12 thoughts on “Extraordinary Service

  1. Joe: I remember hearing of a Christian military man who requested that at his funeral Reveille be played rather than Taps. Kinda like… This is beautiful and conveys your family’s deep faith, your Dad’s wonderful influence in your lives. Blessings! Diane

    • “I remember hearing of a Christian military man who requested that at his funeral Reveille be played rather than Taps.”

      What a great perspective! Entering Heaven is not lying down to sleep, but rising up to new life! Reveille is, indeed, more suitable.

      This reminded me of the Rest in Peace (RIP) that people so often use as a means of honoring the deceased. I get the expression and understand it is intended as a sign of respect. However, on Monday (Veteran’s Day), whenever I saw RIP I thought of Papa (who is a veteran) and each time had trouble picturing him peacefully resting. I’m quite confident he’s running, jumping, dancing, singing, and celebrating!

      Thank you, Diane!

  2. What a wonderful legacy. Reminds me of the the hymn, “Mansions of the Lord”.

    I’ve attended few funerals, though I have had to bury friends in distant places (don’t ask). Most of those I attended were pretty sullen affairs. I think they really missed out on something vital.

    An exception was an IRA wake (again…don’t ask). It was singularly upbeat. Odd that chaps who embraced violence as they did really understood the Christian passage. I’m still trying to figure that out.

    I just read ‘Celebrating Papa’s Life’ – it took a little while to load, but was worth the wait.

    While reading it, the thought that crossed my mind was “There are no yesterdays in Christ – only tomorrows!”

    True for your Dad, I think, and true for you, my friend.

  3. Dear Joe
    Your family is such an good example of Paul’s words that we do not grief like those who have no hope, but we do. All my condolences with your dad’s passing away, dear friend, and I pray that our Pappa will hold you all in His Loving Embrace and fill your hearts with joy and peace. Joe, I am so glad and grateful about the great legacy you daddy has left you. It is so special!
    Blessings XX
    Mia

    • Thank you, Mia!

      Yes, Our Great Pappa, does, indeed, hold us close in His wamr embrace…and nothing can sntach us from His hand!

      Thank you for the prayers and blessings!

  4. I’m so sorry to hear that your father passed, Joe, but what an amazing legacy and impact he left on you and your family! First of all, the painting your sister, Joanna painted is stunning! And the fact that your family is filled with artists, musicians, and writers in so many forms, is amazing and I’m sure represents the many blessings of your father’s life and faith in God. Praying that you’ll continue to feel God’s comfort and the “lingering joy” from such a great man of God.

    • Yes, we are truly blessed in so many ways!

      And so thankful for the godly influence that Papa and Mama have both been in our lives!

      I’m glad you mentioned the painting. I think this is one of Joanna’s best, in terms have really capturing the moment and the personality (which she excels at in general). Look closely at Papa’s face in the painting, and you can catch a glimpse of His vision and longing to see Jesus!

      Thank you, Beth!

    • Thank you, Denise! It has truly been a remarkable experience for me. Past sorrows seemed to always compound on each other as I felt the weight of added grief. Papa’s leaving has been quite different, thus far, for me. Certainly a sense of loss, but much more a sense of anticipation of Heaven’s nearness!

      Blessings to you, today, and throughout the holiday season!

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