Melvin L. Jones’ Memorial Service
Friday, October 26, 2012 – 1:30 pm
INTRODUCTION AND PRAYER:
We come together from the diversity of our grieving,
to gather in the warmth of this community
giving stubborn witness to our belief that
in times of sadness, there is room for laughter.
In times of darkness, there will always be light.
May we hold fast to the conviction
that what we do with our lives matters
and that a caring world is possible after all.
M. Maureen Killoran
Let us pray…
Spirit of Life, and so also our Companion in times of death, be with all who gather here in their hour of sadness. Help us to recall that we come into the world in mystery and we go away the same. Give us strength to feel the blessing of connection, which goes deeper than human knowing, and hope enough to honor the gifts of life, even in these difficult days.
Be with Norma and Mel’s family and friends. Save them from bitterness or hardness of heart. Keep them open to feeling the love that remains for them, ever renewing in the world. In their grief, help them to remember always the gifts and cherish the memory that came from being part of Mel’s life.
May all here present carry forward the goodness, the love, and the courage of Mel, whose life and death have brought us together today. Draw Mel to you and may those who love him rest assured of what is most true, that his goodness and beauty are at rest in the healing and sustaining presence of God. Amen.
M. Maureen Killoran
Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:7-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Message: “It’s Not Enough”
When you stop to think about it, the very idea of distilling the meaning of a person’s entire life into a memorial service that lasts about an hour is really absurd…Mel Jones’ life was over 86 years long…His married life alone was 65 years…We cannot possibly even begin to sum up this life in the short time we have together today…But that is not the point.
The point of a memorial service is to honor something of what it meant for that person to have lived…We are not here to summarize Mel’s life; we are here to honor Mel’s presence and bear witness to how he enriched our lives and the community in which he lived…We are here to say goodbye, knowing that we carry something of Mel’s spirit with us as we go on living our lives. We are here to celebrate the fact that Mel has successfully completed the journey of a life well-lived and to acknowledge that we are all the better for his success.
A few minutes ago we heard from some of Mel’s grandchildren…Their stories were not about facts and events…They were talking about memories and influence…What they shared with us were pieces of Mel’s relationships with them…bits of Mel’s presence that will stay with them forever…They offered us so much more than a summary of Mel’s life; they drew pictures for us about what it really meant to share Mel’s life…This is the stuff of lasting portraits that fill in the details of highlights and shadows, showing us the twinkle of an eye or the familiar turn of a mouth about to laugh…When we met to talk about today, it wasn’t enough to say that Mel made the coffee every morning…What was important was that Mel made the effort to get up early, make the coffee and then bring it in to Norma so they could spend some time together planning the rest of their day and who would be responsible for which girl’s taxi service and how they would gather together at the end of the day to share as a family…It wasn’t enough to say that Mel loved his family and provided a good life for them…It was important to understand that Mel adored his wife and daughters and did everything in his power to protect them and care for them as long as he possibly could. It wasn’t enough to say that Mel and Norma were married for sixty-five years…What’s important is that they were devoted to one another every single day of those sixty-five years; they never forgot to say, “I love you”; and even near the end, Mel was still eager to ask Norma for a kiss. It isn’t enough to summarize a life…we must find ways to preserve the meaning of that life.
When we talked about Scriptures for today, several passages came up; one of those is this one from the Book of Revelation:
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
One of the more obvious questions from the family is, “When will God wipe the tears from my eyes and take this pain away?” I wish I could answer that question for you today, but I can’t. What I can tell you is this: The Book of Revelation, in fact the whole of Scripture, offers the hope and promise that God is in charge…What’s hard for us to understand is that God’s ways are not our ways and God’s timing is not our timing. God’s timing is always perfect; but it is seldom what we think we want or need. It was interesting to me that one of the Scriptures you went to also happens to be my very favorite passage: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Whether we know it or not; whether we accept it or not; whether we like it or not…God really does have the perfect plan already in place for each one of us…I think you were drawn to this passage because you knew that it was one Mel understood…I also believe that it offers you an answer to the question of when your tears will be dry and when the pain in your stomach will fade…God will lead you to his perfect plan, a plan for a future filled with hope. If you follow his lead you will get to that place where your tears have given way to smiles and, although the years you’ve had with Mel will never be enough, they will be a precious sampling of what God has planned for your eternal future. In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…Amen