Funerals and Weddings-Celebrations of Life

On Wednesday morning of last week (March 26), we attended the funeral of our friend and relative, Roger (see blog about a tribute to him). After a 13 hour drive to Minnesota on Tuesday, Sue and I were tired but so appreciative of the opportunity we had to spend time with our family and friends that gathered to celebrate his life.

The highlight for me in the midst of the sadness was hearing Roger’s daughter and three sons share briefly of some of the memories of their dad. They all talked about his love for sports. One said that when Roger died, Minnesota lost its #1 sports fan. They all spoke about his dedication to being a dad, i.e., he was always there for them. From attending their sporting events as a kid to listening to issues they were dealing with as adults—Roger took time. It was thematic. He took time with his family. They shared stories about his disdain for fishing not getting in the way of his effort to do it often with his boys. They spoke equally of his even keeled approach to just about everything in life and his relatively calm demeanor. It was difficult to determine if they were winning or losing a game based on the expression Roger had on the sidelines because he looked the same at all times 🙂

But, the one thing that they all recalled which trumped all of his other memorable traits as a dad was his faith. His faith in Jesus Christ was the single most recognizable and memorable trait they recalled about their father. Wow! Isn’t that how we all want to be remembered (at least those of us who profess Christianity as our foundation)? That at the end of our days, our lives counted for something more than just existing.  He wanted to make sure that everyone he knew had the chance to hear about the savior he was soon going to meet face to face.  We’re all going to be known for something when it comes time for our loved ones to have a memorial service for us.  Roger’s family and friends knew what was his real heartbeat…his love for his savior, Jesus Christ.  
Soon after we celebrated a life well lived, we had the chance to witness new life.   Not a birth but a wedding.  Young friends of my son were getting married two days after we shared in the celebration of Rogers’ life.  The bible tells us that when a couple makes a covenant promise to marry, they become one flesh.  A new life together.  And so we had the privilege of witnessing the impact of a man on his family and friends over many years and celebrating in the newness of life God was bringing together between a man and a woman.  Interesting juxtaposition.  My prayer for this young couple and for all of us is that we live this life with reckless abandon for something that is bigger than ourselves.  And, I contend that the only thing worth living for is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  If not, then grab all the gusto you can because this life is all there is.  Roger didn’t believe that.  The young couple getting married don’t believe that.  Neither do I.  Let’s make an impact on the world using a life well lived as our motto.

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