A CELEBRATION OF THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD

(to mark a resurrection)

Hymn: All hail the great Immanuel's name

Pastor

(facing the open Word): The day is Yours, the night also is Yours; You have prepared the light and the sun. You have set all the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter. (Psalm 74).

(facing the people): Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalm 107).

Please be seated.

Psalm 84:

How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young - even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will still be praising You. Selah. Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. Passing through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring; the rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each appears before God in Zion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah. O God, behold our shield, and look upon the face of Your anointed. For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord will give grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You! Amen.

Reader #1 (Marion Stinson):

A reading from Corinthians: (1CO 13:1-8,13)

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am as sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long, and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. ...... And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Amen.

Reader #2 (Roger Schnarr):

A prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Reader #3 (Sheryl Phillips):

A reflection:

"Not unto us, O Lord. Not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, because of Thy mercy, and because of Thy truth." (Psalm 115).

A tiny stone is cast into a pond. Do we focus on the stone? No. We note only the widening ripples.

A tiny stone is cast into a pond. Do we wonder at the stone? No.

We wonder at the One who made it, and whose hand cast it forth.

A tiny stone is cast into the ocean. Do we celebrate the stone? No.

We praise the God who transforms ripples into waves — waves that roll from soul to soul, and grow forever and forever. Amen

Reader #4 (Brian Wyncoll) Psalm 8

(Psa 8) O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! {2} Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger. {3} When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, {4} What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? {5} For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honour. {6} You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, {7} All sheep and oxen; Even the beasts of the field, {8} The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. {9} O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

Hymn: A mighty fortress is our God

Pastor:

"Death is a continuation of life." (Divine Providence #277).

We are here because someone we know has "died." But what is "death"? What does it mean to "die"? The Word teaches that every human being is created to live forever. A person is said to die, but still does not die; he is simply separated from the body that has served in this world as a means for sharing affections and thoughts which, if we think about it, are the real person. The physical body is the only part of the person that - its work here completed - dies. The person we know, and perhaps love, lives on. He lives as a person - the same person - in a spiritual body which, though our natural eyes cannot see it, appears exactly like a human body, in a world that has all of the beauty, and none of the ugliness, of this world. A person who has lived in love to the Lord and to the neighbour continues to do so, only there is no sorrow, nor sickness, nor misfortune, nor pain. And, yes, people who have loved one another in this life do meet again; conjugial partners especially reunite to live together in a marriage that endures to eternity. We call it heaven, and it's real. The happiness of heaven consists in sharing one's loves and talents to contribute to the happiness of others. Anyone who has loved giving and loving in this life, and who has acknowledged in his heart that all good and all truth are from the Lord alone, just goes on loving and giving forever. This is what makes heaven heaven. Amen.

Reader #5 (John Reid):

A beginning: It was John's wish that this celebration should end with Psalm 30:

I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to You, and You healed me. O Lord, You brought up my soul from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger lasts a moment; His favour is for life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Now, in my prosperity I said, "I shall never be moved." Lord, by Your favour. You have made my mountain to stand strong: You hid Your face, I was troubled. I cried out to You, O Lord; and to the Lord I prayed. "What profit is there to my blood, when I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord be my helper!" You have turned my mourning into dancing; You have removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that I may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give thanks to You forever. Amen.

...... Finally, three brief quotations: "One must wait until evening to know how glorious the day has been." (Sophocles).

"For all that has been: Thanks. To all that shall be: Yes!" (Dag Hammarskjold).

And (concerning the Lord), "And He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain." (2 Samuel 23). "For Thine, Lord, is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen."

Pastor: Let us pray:

Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so upon the earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Benediction: The Lord bless you, and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen.

Hymn: The Lord God Jesus Christ doth reign

(This is the full text of the document prepared by John Raymond at least two years before his death.)

(revised November 7, 2006).

(edited by JPC April 3, 2007)