1. Prayer for God’s blessing upon the service and for comfort to those who mourn.
2. PERSONAL COMMENTS
Today, we have met in the memory of Edward Leonard Allsup, my Granpa or “Papa.” Papa was a gift. He gave us so many gifts, but there are three for which I am particularly thankful.
First, Papa gave us the gift of legacy. He fought in World War II, establishing for our family roots of courage, heroism, and honor. He also significantly contributed to our family heritage by thoroughly researching our genealogy and authoring an auto-biography. I love that auto-biography – the stories from Granpa’s childhood, the insights from his life, and the recounting of our ancestors’ military service. That auto-biography is truly a gift, as was the life he led.
Second, Papa gave us the gift of his creativity and art. Whether it was wood working, painting, jewelry making, or composing, Papa’s art was inspiring. What I liked most about Papa’s art was how passionate he was about it and how meaningful it was to him. His heart was in it. He only created what he loved. Like the old woman he whittled out of wood for me. And the picture he painted of a young John the Baptist for me after Niki and I got married. And the song he composed for me my first year of college. Each of these pieces – along with all the others – are family heirlooms that will forever reflect a piece of Granpa’s heart.
Third, Papa gave me the gift of a Grandfather. As the only grandpa I knew, he modeled for me what a grandfather is supposed to be. He had fun with me. As a child, I have so many memories of Granpa playing cards with me, snickering when he got doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing, making goofy faces at me, calling me silly names, and driving me around in his golf cart. And even as I got older, he kept playing with me. Like the one time I came to visit them during college and he and Granma went out to dinner with me at 10 o’clock at night. He was much more excited about this adventure than Granma was! Granpa also gave me lots of presents. As a young child, he would bring me countless presents every time he came to see me. Looking back now, I know they were mostly free stuff he picked up from various companies. But then, they were treasure! He also gave me his car when I was in college and in desperate need of a vehicle. And as a grown-up, he gave me anything in his possession that mattered to me – from family pictures, to artwork, to memorabilia from the war. Finally, Granpa was so proud of me. I remember how he plastered “Proud Grandpa” stickers all over his garage and car. I think he had more college apparel from my alma maters than I have! Yes, I suspect he always was more excited about my accomplishments than I was.
Granpa was a gift in every way. Not only did he gift us with who he chose to be, but he also was a gift to us from God, the giver of all good gifts. And the thing about God and His story is that the gift of Granpa doesn’t end here – it’s an eternal gift. God’s plan from the beginning was for us to live eternally with Him – one with Him and with each other, never separated by death (or by all the other things that separate us). After sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, however, we were destined to be forever separated from Him and at odds with each other. The wages of sin was death, and the end of the story seemed to change – instead of living with God, we would die without Him. But God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us – in our place. And whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. For those who believe, the story continues just as God intended.
Granpa believed. And so we can be confident that he lives in eternity. Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.’ As we celebrate Easter this week, we can take great comfort in knowing that Jesus’s victory over death approximately 2,000 years ago means that Granpa has victory over death, too, because Christ lives in him. Plain and simple, death is swallowed up in victory. For Jesus, death is like sleeping. When his friend Lazarus died, he told the disciples Lazarus had fallen asleep. And when they didn’t get it, he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” Similarly, when Jairus’s daughter died, Jesus said, “Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.” For those who are in Christ, like Granpa, death has lost its victory; it has lost its sting. And the story isn’t over – it’s just beginning.
In the light of these promises God has given us in His Word and in as much as it has pleased the Lord in His sovereign wisdom and purpose to take from our midst one whom we have loved, we now commit Granpa’s body to its final resting place.
3. Closing Prayer and Lord’s prayer