SERMON TITLE: “Blessed Memories of the Righteous”
SERMON TEXT: Proverbs 10:1-12
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: May 28, 2017 (Memorial & Heritage Sunday) at First UMC
On Friday afternoon, I officiated at a graveside service at Leavitt’s Aultorest Cemetery. The service wasn’t for anyone in our congregation. But, while I was out at that cemetery, I recalled some of our former church members whose services I’ve done there. In particular, I remembered that cold winter day when Bob Merritt’s family gathered at Leavitt’s for a time of remembrance and prayer prior to his cremation. I know some people think that funerals and memorial services are morbid. But I’m always glad to meet with families to hear their stories of their loved ones’ lives. No matter whether the deceased person was rich or poor, healthy or sick, educated in schools or by hard knocks, I think it’s a wondrous thing to consider how factors and influences, opportunities and deprivations, and people and places shaped the decisions an individual made and the path he or she followed.
While I was out there at the cemetery on Friday afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of other people were there too, or already had been there, putting flags and flowers on graves for Memorial Day. I know Memorial Day was originally intended to be a day for decorating the graves of soldiers who had died in war. But, in my experience, Memorial Day has become a great time for remembering all our loved ones who have passed on before us, whether they died in war or not.
No matter how our predecessors lived and why they died, all their lives have something to teach us. Sometimes those lessons are positive examples, and sometimes they’re lessons of what we should avoid doing. If we’re willing to pay attention and remember those lessons, then maybe we can put them into practice and someone will have reason to love and honor us when we’ve passed on.
This opportunity of learning from our predecessors is exactly what we find in Proverbs 10:1-12. There, in verse seven, we see that “the memory of the righteous is a blessing.” Assuming that all of us would like to be remembered positively, let’s dig into this text and see how we can shape our lives to become a righteous memory that will bless others after we’re gone.
Continue reading . . .