Harold loved to fish. At 88 years old, his fishing days were fewer and farther between. Even so, he was able to go fishing one last time before he died. At the funeral lunch, his family placed a brightly colored bobber at each place setting with his name attached. They encouraged us to take one with us. The bobbers were a wonderful reminder of Harold's life and they sparked many reminiscences.
Funerals have not changed much since Christ's resurrection, and I have come to think that the funeral lunch is just as important as the service itself. Like Dorcas' friends, we gather to share stories of what our loved ones mean to us. We look at pictures that express something of the life they led and the ways they were important. Our memories are both a comfort and a sign of the new life promised through Jesus.
Remembering God, keep the memories of our loved ones as close to us as they are to you, until we are reunited with them in your kingdom. Amen.
Acts 9:36-43 (NRSV)
36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity.
37 At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs.
38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, "Please come to us without delay."
39 So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them.
40 Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, "Tabitha, get up." Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up.
41 He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive.
42 This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
43 Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.