The day went well, thank you for your prayers, flowers, cards and love.
Thank you for being there, really, and for helping so much. Thank you for the place to crash afterwards, and for your generosity. You are a good bunch of people.
During the coffee afterwards I met up with some of my oldest friends, guys I grew up with.
Dale (Pastor of our old church now), Lowell (big Sask. government employee guy), and me.
The Committal service went well too.
(For my records...)
Some 64 years and 5 months ago, on a farm not far from here, a baby boy entered this world.
His mom and dad named him Reuben Thomas.
He grew into a boy, who with his twin brother would sometimes get into mischief.
He helped work this land as a farmers son, and he watched as his parents followed God faithfully into ministry.
As a boy he decided for himself who he would serve and asked Jesus to come into his life, and that day he became a new creation.
He went off to Bible school and there found the love of his life, this girl, Evie Thiessen.
They married and had four, ahem, wonderful children.
He worked hard to provide for his family
It seemed he was faithful with a few things, so God called him to Ontario, to work for him there.
And it wasn"t easy at all, still he sought to be faithful. He was a servant, a caregiver, a leader.
Illness grew to be a big part of his life, in fact some of you didn"t know him before he was sick.
But sought not to let that define him. He was Reuben Friesen, child of God, husband to Evie, father to Randall, Gaylene, Jeffrey, Robyn, Lauralea and Heidi, grandfather, and friend.
His desire was just to be faithful through each day and what it would bring his way.
He has travelled these years and has seen them through to their completion.
Now he"s gone on ahead of us. And while he"s gone on, we gather here to lay to rest the mortal remains of Reuben Friesen.
That which we saw with our eyes, heard with our ears, and touched with our hands.
1 Peter 1:3,4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you.
He whom we love is not here. Tenderly and reverently we commit that which is mortal to the grave; the body returns to the earth from which it came and the spirit unto God who gave it. For even as we have borne the image of the earthly, we who die in Christ shall bear the image of the heavenly. May the Lord receive him into his peace and raise him up at the last day. Amen.
I heard a voice from heaven saying, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Blessed indeed, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.
O Lord: support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Dad was a man who valued community. It was always his intention that whatever difficulties would arise, we would work through them together.
Even a few weeks ago we assured him that whatever needed to be done we would get done together.
So we thought it fitting that in this last action for dad, or at least the body that contained him these 64 years, we would do what needed to be done together, one last time.
And in this final act of love and community, we want to fill the grave, for him.
The next time this dirt will be moved, may it be when Jesus returns and the graves will open up.
So you are all invited to participate, share the load, and let us complete this farewell.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.