Thursday, 30 September 2010

A Short Funeral Sermon with Reference to Psalm 23, "My Way" and "Today I'm Gonna Try and Change the World": for Dixie Senecal

In the words of the song Curtis sang, My Way, Dixie’s end and final curtain in this life has come. It was too early and it hurts.

If ever there was a time that we need a shepherd like the LORD, it’s now. If ever there was a time when we need green pastures to lie down in and waters of peace and renewal of life and hope it’s now. We’re walking through a valley as dark as death, Dixie’s death.

Where on earth do we find any comfort in this? There is comfort in knowing that Dixie lived, again as the songs says, a life that was full and she lived it in a way that was distinctively hers. She lived it her way, not in a selfish sense, but as one of God’s uniquely created and gifted beings. She loved, laughed and cried, she had her fill, and from what I heard from Aza, Shonna and Jason, the song Curtis sang is accurate when it says she didn’t live it “in a shy way, Oh no, oh no, not” Dixie. She lived it with gusto and those who know and love her are the richer for it.

So what do you who are left behind do with your love and respect for Dixie, with your grief over her too early death?

I’m going to suggest two things: first, from the song you’ll be hearing as you go out when this service is over—Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World, sung by Johnny Reid, a favourite of Dixie’s, second only to the king himself, Elvis.

TODAY I'M GONNA TRY AND CHANGE THE WORLD

I'VE MADE MY RESOLUTION

I'M GONNA SAY HELLO TO MY NEIGHBOR
GREET HIM WITH A SMILE
SHAKE THE HAND OF A STRANGER
SIT AND TALK FOR A WHILE
TELL SOMEONE I LOVE THEM
FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART

I'LL NEVER TURN MY BACK
ON THOSE OF US WHO NEED SOMEONE

TODAY IM GONNA TRY AND CHANGE THE WORLD


Dixie must have lived like that. Shonna also told me about the young fellow, seventeen years old, who found himself in jail and who used his phone call to call Dixie, his grade four teacher! She must have taken the time to bless him in the spirit of that song.

Something you can do to honour Dixie. Life can be short. (Dear Reader: You had to be there for the following references) So wear blue suede shoes from time to time. Carry a bat! Dare to open the door when the car is moving. Take the time to be kind to neighbours and strangers. Walk arm in arm with some folks like Dixie did. Make sure the people you love know it. Show them and tell them today. Tomorrow might be too late.

The second thing, is to revisit the spiritual component of your lives. Is there a LORD who is our shepherd and who gives us goodness and love unfailing, who will guide us beside waters of peace and in whose presence we need fear no evil, no matter what?

As you might surmise from my outfit. I believe there is. In fact, I work for him. His name is Jesus. Dixie was a great fan of someone who is also known as a king, Elvis. Jesus is the King of Kings. We heard Elvis singing to and about him as we were coming in to the service today. Jesus was there when God created the unique and wonderful woman we’re here to honour today, Dixie Senecal. He knew her name and loves her, just as he does you and me. Dixie was a living, breathing, vibrant expression of God’s love in our lives.

So as you resolve to make sure the people you love know it, may I suggest connecting or re-connecting with King Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who is uniquely able to guide you through hard times like this. My I also suggest you join me in a prayer to LORD Jesus, the Good Shepherd:

LORD, I need a shepherd right now. The valley of Dixie’s death is pretty dark. I’m sad and I’m afraid. I need your green pastures, your waters of peace, your comfort, goodness and love. Help me to show my love to the people I care about. Help me to see and experience your love in my good memories of Dixie and in the people around me. Help me to know you are real and to love you…
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