On Tuesday, Sept 30, 2014 my Grandpa Bruce Meeker died. On Sunday, October 5th, family and friends gathered at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Mason City, Iowa to celebrate his life. During his funeral I had the opportunity to reflect on Grandpa's life and the lessons he taught us. This is what I said.
A reading from John 10:
The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice...I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Tuesday morning, shortly after receiving the phone call from Mom telling me Grandpa was not doing well and I should probably plan to come home soon for a funeral, I was driving through rural Nebraska on my way to a meeting. Now admittedly, I should have been paying a little more attention to the road but my thoughts were some what distracted as I noticed the world around me in new ways. As I noticed the way the fall leaves were beginning to change colors and fall to the ground, I kept thinking about the movement from life into death, and the promise of eventual new life, that so often I am reminded of in fall. As I listened to the rain pouring down and washing the world, I thought about the promises made in baptism and the way that God has claimed and marked the world as Gods.
As I noticed these things, these words from John about abundant life were the words that came echoing into the back of my head. As a infant, Grandpa was baptized into the abundant life and love of Jesus. Now, he may not have spent an abundant amount of time sitting in church pews, but Grandpa knew God’s abundant life and love and he shared that with each of us in a variety of ways.
Grandpa gifted us with an abundance of healthy skepticism as we learned to never, ever under any circumstances pull a finger, or to check under our seat cushions for the whoppe cushion that could be hiding or that sometimes 10 pennies hiding in the yard actually meant 9 so we should have a 10th ready to confuse him. Grandpa was generous enough to gift the wildlife of his backyard with this skepticism too as they learned not to always trust that bird feeder.
Grandpa gifted us with an abundance of family. 6 kids, 14 grandkids and 18 great grandchildren and abundant love for each one us.
Grandpa taught us about the abundance of time as there was always time for coffee or maid-rites with friends or a moped ride, or eventually a wheelchair ride, for the grandkids.
Grandpa taught us about the abundance of treasures to be found in this world, some of them with the help of a metal detector, some of them through the beating of a piñata and some of them simply by paying attention to the world around you.
But most important of all, Grandpa taught us about and gifted us with an abundance of life love and laughter.
Today, as we gather to grieve Grandpa’s death and to celebrate Grandpa’s life, we also gather in the trust that this abundance does not end with death. We trust that the abundance of Grandpa’s life that has shaped each one of us, will continue to change and impact the world. We trust that even death will not separate us from the abundant love and life of God. And we trust that, in the abundance of all the family and friends gathered here to remember Grandpa, we are wrapped in that abundant love and life of God.
Still, just to be safe, better not pull any fingers and check your seats for whoopee cushions.
|Grandpa Bruce Meeker|
Feb 22, 1920- Sept 30, 2014