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!