Four Funerals & A Wedding - Funeral #2
NEIL ATWOOD & LUKE TATTERSALL share sermon ideas for funerals and weddings.
Source: Perspective Vo10 No3&4 ©Perspective 2003
Funeral – Psalm 23
I think I could safely say that every person here this morning would have heard that Bible passage at some time before today.
It is a very popular Bible passage – and it is a passage that is suitable for occasions such as this because it speaks about trust in God through all situations – both good and bad.
It was written by a man named of David – a man probably best remembered for his fight with the giant, Goliath.
What he wrote about in this Psalm was life – life as it really is. He did not try to pretend that life had no troubles or that life was always easy – far from it. David knew that in life there are good times – but there are also difficult times.
There will be times when we walk beside the still waters. But there will also be the times when we must walk (as David says) “through the valley of the shadow of death”.
And there is even the time when we must face death itself.
But David doesn’t shy away from those things – in fact he faces them with great confidence.
And where does that confidence come from? Is it that he is just a man of real inner strength? Is it just a lot of hollow brave talk?
The answer to that question is found in the very opening words of the Psalm:
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
His strength and confidence comes not from within himself – but from God. It is because he has placed his trust in God that he is able to face life so confidently and is even able to face death without fear.
He can face all that life has to offer because he knows that his God will provide for him, God will guide him and God will care for him. That is not a guarantee that life will be perfect. But it is a guarantee that God will be a firm anchor even in the most difficult times.
The Psalm finishes on a great note of hope:
“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Those who trust in God as their Shepherd can be assured of his presence and guidance in this life and they can be assured that beyond this life they will be with him forever.
When we turn to the New Testament it is no coincidence that Jesus says that he is the good shepherd – he is the one in whom we are to trust – he is the one who promises to be with us in this life – he is the one who promises us eternal life if we trust in him.
Jesus in the one what God expects us to place our trust in. When Jesus was on this earth God said that – he said “This is my son. Listen to him.”
Jesus is the one who will guide us through this life. Jesus is the one who promises that he has prepared a place for all those who have their trust placed firmly in him.
Luke Tattersall is minister at the Parramatta City Presbyterian Church, Sydney