Mary Wirth Funeral Sermon - Eccl 3:1-2 October 27th 2020 / A Time to be born... A Time to Die
Mary Wirth…Nov 5, 1933 – Oct 22, 2020
A Time to be born...A Time to Die. Eccl 3:1-2
by Rev. Irwin Pudricky
Dear members of the Wirth family, relatives and friends. Today we remember and mourn the death of a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, sister-in-law, aunt and dear friend. From a time perspective, Mary's death is one of many that appear regularly in the local obituary column of the Leader Post, which gives us occasion to reflect on the shortness of life, even when it lasts for the better part of a century.
Census takers study and predict population trends. They look for indicators that tell whether the signs are for population growth or decline. In so doing, they deal with a figure that never needs calculating, the death rate. Think of it, the death rate for any country in the world never changes. It's always one death per birth, one death per person.
It is the same for us all, actually a spot-on fulfillment of Ecclesiastes 3
“There's a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.
A TIME to be BORN... and a TIME to DIE.
A time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up,
A time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak, a time for love and a time for hate,
A time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
Our focus today is on the first of these classics, A time to BE BORN and a time TO DIE.
Your loved one's time to be born was 1933, during the great depression which left its indelible mark on everyone in that day. Those times were very different and difficult compared to today. Television had not yet made its debut on the world stage. The automobile was still relatively primitive. Computers and most modern conveniences were unheard of. Space travel was merely a dream.
Mary grew up at a time when hard physical work was the standard of the day, something she embraced with diligence and devotion. She witnessed the many transitions to our age, those of space exploration and instant communication, the world becoming a global village. At the time Saskatchewan was only 28 years in existence, and Canada well under a century old.
She joined the Christian faith as an infant when God made her His own through Holy Baptism, a time for her to be Re-born by God's Grace. Almost 70 yrs ago she joined Victor in marriage, a union that, through ups and downs, is an uncommon model in this day of free ethics and convenience.
God granted your loved one almost 87 years of earthly life, much of it lived working hard, originally as a farmer’s wife, then as an employee of Sears and Canada Post. She was known for keeping a clean and well decorated home, was proficient at sewing, had good cooking skills and loved the routine of making cabbage rolls, perogies and sausage, as was customary in her family tradition. In retirement she and Vic made customized hangers which adorn the closets of many of our homes, a handicraft project which is appreciated by many to this day. Your loved one will be remembered for her love of life and a competitive spirit that came alive, especially in card games, which she enjoyed at every opportunity.
Over the last number of years, deteriorating health had left its mark rendering her unable to serve lovingly in ways she cherished and enjoyed. On Thursday last, Mary's time had come to leave this life which had few joys remaining for her. Illness had taken its toll. With longing and expectation she answered the Lord's call to depart and be with Him.
Mary had 8 ½ decades of celebrating the good time which were surely there; also the hard times which had a significant impact in her life, among them, struggling with an illness that impacted herself & her family in prolonged and difficult ways.
From 1933 to 2020 was her time to live, to work, to love, to give, to struggle, to make a life and a living. Along with the writer of Ecclesiastes we acknowledge, there is a TIME to be BORN, and a TIME to DIE. For you now, it is the time to REMEMBER, to thank God for a loved one who leaves you with a memorable legacy to cherish .
If there is a time to be BORN, and a time to DIE there is also a TIME to consider our frail humanity which we share with your departed loved one. We, like Mary, are all imperfect humans beings very much in need of God's forgiveness & grace. Before a Righteous God we all stand UN-righteous. For this reason God sent His SON, Jesus, into the world, who took on Himself the imperfection that is ours, which brings us judgment and death. In exchange, He offers us Forgiveness and Life, which we receive by trusting Him as Lord and Redeemer.
Even for Jesus, there was a time to be BORN and a time to DIE. The Father in heaven set a time for His Son to come to earth for an assignment, a mission unlike any other. At God's appointed TIME, Jesus took on human flesh, became one of us, like us in every way, except that He did not sin. At the right time and in our place, He died for transgressions that were not His. Out of love God determined that death would NOT hold Him. Dying would not have the last word for Jesus AND it doesn’t have the last word for everyone who puts his trust in Him.
Three days after His crucifixion Jesus walked ALIVE from the tomb as the first of those who would conquer DEATH. Shortly thereafter, He returned to His Father in heaven where even now He intercedes as our heavenly Attorney, pleading the case of sinners before a Holy God. By no virtue of our own God, the Righteous One, receives us, the UN-righteous,
A hymn writer had a simple, yet profound way of expressing it in the words of a beloved children's song:
"Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so.
Jesus loves me, He who died
Heaven's gate to open wide
He will wash away my sin
Let His precious child come in."
Heaven is not open because we prove to be lesser sinners than others. It is open because Jesus bled and died for me...for you and for your loved one, Mary. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that everyone who believes in Him may have everlasting life. [John 3:16]
There was a time when Mary was baptized, confirmed, married, bore a son and daughter, worked hard to provide for home and family. For her all that has now ended. Now is the Time for you to commemorate her life of faith and service....a time to mourn and remember....to thank God for giving her to you and for taking her home to the place which the Lord Jesus even now is preparing for those who love Him.
To God our Creator, Savior & sanctifying Lord be all honor, glory, power, majesty and dominion forever. Amen