Friday, January 20, 2017
Our Faithful Elders
This afternoon I presided at the funeral of a 92-year-old member of the Bridge St. UC congregation, along with Rev. Vicki, our pastoral care minister. There were about forty people in the funeral chapel, not surprising when someone outlives her peers. Beth's 97-year-old husband spoke, as did adult children. Beth was a dependable "church lady," singing in the choir and serving in the UCW. She also had a deep personal Christian faith, expressed through prayer, study of scripture, and inquisitive reading on a number of spiritual topics. We did our best to remember her well and commend her to God's gracious care.
She was the third nonagenarian to die in the past month, along with two others in their eighties. Two days ago I visited a man well into his 91st year who seemed to have every malady imaginable, including Parkinson's, yet continued to live at home thanks to an attentive wife and practically supportive family. He was weak with pneumonia but I was able to speak with Ron, to read a passage of scripture from Philippians, and to pray. Within 24 hours he was gone. He too was a person of abiding faith who felt that God had seen him through some dark days and given him the strength to live with hope.
At times I feel that this is literally a dying breed, gracious and steadfast folk who lived varied and active lives with God and Christian community as the foundation for it all.
Their memorial and funeral services may not be all that well attended, but they have been our elders and will be missed.