I wanted to share the words and music that were present at Mom’s funeral service. Even though hundreds of people attended both the visitation and the funeral service, we know through our emails, texts, and phone calls that there were plenty more people that weren’t able to attend that wanted to be there because of Covid and travel concerns.
Pastor David Swinton officiated the service. Joshua Kraushaar sang “On Eagle’s Wings” and “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)”. Josh is the husband of our old Associate Pastor Andrea. Mom had a particularly close relationship with Andrea and our Pastor at the time Phil Webb. She was always close with our Pastors, but those two in particular. It was such a blessing to have Josh come down from Fort Dodge. She always loved listening to him sing and she in particular loved his version of Chris Tomlin’s version of “Amazing Grace”. Plus having Andrea in attendance was also particularly meaningful.
I’ve included some videos. They are really just a still picture with the audio from the service over it. You will have to be on the website to play the videos.
March 30, 2021
THE WORD OF GRACE
Jesus said, I am the resurrection and I am life.
Those who believe in me, even though they die, yet shall they live,
and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Friends, we have gathered here to praise God
and to witness to our faith as we celebrate the life of CHARLOTTE BENNETT.
We come together in grief, acknowledging our human loss.
May God grant us grace, that in pain we may find comfort,
in sorrow hope, in death resurrection.
O God, who gave us birth,
you are ever more ready to hear
than we are to pray.
You know our needs before we ask,
and our ignorance in asking.
Give to us now your grace,
that as we shrink before the mystery of death,
we may see the light of eternity.
Speak to us once more
your solemn message of life and of death.
Help us to live as those who are prepared to die.
And when our days here are accomplished,
enable us to die as those who go forth to live,
so that living or dying, our life may be in you,
and that nothing in life or in death will be able to separate us
from your great love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
“On Eagle’s Wings”
“On Eagle’s Wings”
OLD TESTAMENT LESSON
O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honour.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
NEW TESTAMENT LESSON
I John 4:7-12
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’
Char knew a secret about giving. Giving doesn’t lessen what you have, it multiplies what you have. Share your baked goods and you’ll discover more joy. Give of your time and you have more friends and more time with them. Give your love and you receive an outpouring in return. Offering acceptance costs you nothing, and yet it is the entre to new friendships and adventures—perhaps even the entry gate of the Kingdom of God.
For Char, caretaking wasn’t an obligation; it was her joy. She had a knack for noticing and anticipating the needs of others. She was a skilled and prolific cook. She loved to be in the kitchen. One family member said, even if it were an event honoring her—she would want to be in the kitchen helping serve.
She loved her children and grandkids, and she was so excited about being a great grandmother. She was so proud of every one of you. And she was so good at relating to young people. She was a 2nd mom to many of her kids’ friends and to many of the students she worked with at Iowa State.
She always wanted to listen to the music that the kids were listening to. She wasn’t afraid of new things. She was always on the move, always ready for a new adventure and up for trying new stuff, like traveling to new place, going to new restaurants, or listening to new music.
Char loved flowers. She was especially fond of stargazers—brightly colored lilies with each petal outlined in white. But she really loved all varieties and all colors.
She was pretty much like that with people as well. She could appreciate each one without judgement about what they should be. Yes, she was a champion talker, but she was also an attentive listener. She simply had that ability to be fully there—utterly herself—and genuinely pleased to be with you. As her family said, “She just made you want to be a better person.”
Perhaps what makes losing Char all the more poignant is that the one who was always there for others is now gone. Her presence was her greatest gift.
Although we are still at the beginning of Holy Week, our scripture reading today is from the end of the week. It’s the story of Jesus’ resurrection. We don’t witness the resurrection in this story—it’s already happened—but we hear about it. The women come to the tomb, looking to serve him one final time. But after the earth shakes and the stone rolls away, the angel—outlined in light—tells them that Jesus is gone. His body is gone—yet he still lives. These women become the first to see the resurrected Jesus and they become the first evangelists—telling the disciples the Good News.
While Char is gone in one sense, she still lives. She now lives fully welcomed and accepted in God’s divine household. And she lives in those whose lives she has enriched. When you share what she has given to you, her blessings continue to multiply. Give of your talents, your treasure, and your time…and your life will be ever richer. Give your love and acceptance, and you may notice how each person—like a stargazer—has been traced in blessing by the finger of God. Be present with one another, especially during the hardest times. And then, like those first two women and like Charlotte, you will share the Good News of God’s glory in all that you do. Amen.
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
PRAYERS OF COMMENDATION
God of us all, your love never ends.
When all else fails, you still are God.
We pray to you for one another in our need,
and for all, anywhere, who mourn with us this day.
To those who doubt, give light;
to those who are weak, strength;
to all who have sinned, mercy;
to all who sorrow, your peace.
Keep true in us
the love with which we hold one another.
In all our ways we trust you.
And to you,
with your Church on earth and in heaven,
we offer honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
O God, all that you have given us is yours.
As first you gave CHARLOTTE to us,
now we give CHARLOTTE back to you.
Receive CHARLOTTE into the arms of your mercy.
Raise CHARLOTTE up with all your people.
Receive us also, and raise us into a new life.
Help us so to love and serve you in this world
that we may enter into your joy in the world to come. Amen.
DISMISSAL WITH BLESSING
The peace of God which passes all understanding
keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
And the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.
There was a graveside service that was supposed to be just for family, but Pastor Dave forgot to announce that, so over a hundred people attended the graveside service. So his forgetting ended up being a blessing as well. I don’t have the words that were spoken there, but people did hang around to talk and be present long enough that eventually the funeral home had to ask people to leave so they could do what they had to do.
We were not able to have a luncheon because of Covid. Which was sad because so much of her life was about feeding people and making sure people had enough food to eat. She herself probably worked scores of funeral luncheons. The immediate family did get together out at Carla and Jason’s house so we could have our own time together. Aunt Lori made us beef burger meat and provided us with buns. Lori has been such a blessing during these times.
One of the many pieces of wisdom that Mom passed on to me was that “funerals are for the living”. I think it was a beautiful service and if I have any regrets, it is this, I wish we would have used the following bit of scripture:
31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Thank you for your continued support. I have at least one more of these tributes to Mom to share.