Thursday, February 21, 2008

Grandma's Funeral (Lori's Grandma) - Mormor

I had the honor and privilege of performing the ceremony for the funeral of my wife's grandma - Varla Olesen - fondly known as Mormor (mother's mother in Danish). She came to America at age 40 from Denmark. I immediately fell in love with her the moment I met her. What a fantastic woman (and I hear her husband was amazing too).

It was tough, but wonderful, to do the ceremony. A highlight for me was the great grand-children singing "Holy, Holy, Holy" during the ceremony. Our two oldest would sing that to her the last few times we visited. She wanted to hear it once more - but we didn't get back to her. It was a special moment - and my girl, Elise, belted it out the second time through when the congregation joined us.

This life is short. So many quotes come to mind.

Jim Elliot - "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

Only one life, 'twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last.

Here are some lines from the message I wrote - not that they are amazing, but they are true and she was an inspiration.

I’m told that in these last few years, Mormor was in pain so often – but she always prayed for her grandkids – each one by name. How does someone in pain think of others so much??
God loves to take all those bad things that happen to us and work them out for good. But what good is it – whose good is it? Verse 29 starts with the word “for” – it is going to explain what the good is of verse 28. The good that things are working towards is that you and I be conformed to the likeness of His Son – that we become more like Jesus.
Mormor did a lot of beautiful work. I really liked the cards she made from dried flowers (look at bulletin) – she took dead flowers – something that we see as worthless – wasted – and she made masterpieces out of them. That’s what God is doing - He is using even the painful parts of our lives that we don’t like - to make us more like Jesus. I can say that Mormor was able to think of others when she was in pain, because she had spent her life being made more and more like Jesus.

In the last months of her life, Mormor often prayed – “Jesus, just take me home”. You see, this world is not our home. To those who don’t know Jesus, this world is as close to heaven as you’ll ever get. But to those who know Jesus, this world is as close to hell as you’ll ever get.
I had the privilege of spending a week at Shepherd’s Home – a home for mentally and physically handicapped adults. The man who ran it asked me – what do you think we have to clean the most around here. I had no idea. He said – the windows. Because everyone here knows Jesus is going to return in the clouds, just as he left – and they will meet him in the air and get new bodies – and they press their hands and face up to the windows watching for Him.
We are not home yet. But Mormor is. She has fought the good fight – she’s finished the race – and now she is Home. I’m going to miss you Mormor, we all are. But we are so happy for you. Thank you for the life you lived, the way you loved, the prayers you prayed, and the example you set.

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