On Tuesday around noon, my grandfather parted this earth and was welcomed to the heavenly kingdom. I thank God his suffering did not last as long as it could. Hospice had been called only a week earlier and I knew this process could take a while. Yet, very peacefully, while listening to hymns, he slipped from this world to the next. On Sunday we will celebrate his life and resurrection. I have debated whether to be involved in the service or not. But I felt called to lead the prayer. Below is the prayer I hope to get through when we gather together on Sunday.
See one obituary here, the other will be posted in the Charlotte Observer on Sunday morning.
A Prayer for my Grandfather…
Gracious and glorious Lord, we thank you that today is a good day to
cry. It is a good day to say goodbye to a person we love and
cherish. Who has, in his special ways, touched our hearts with care,
compassion, wisdom, and joy. We thank you for William Matthews who was
known to us as Bill, husband, Po, grandpa, and friend. Today is a good day
to cry because we miss the person who has called us, his wife, his son, his
daughters, his grandchildren and his friends. We will miss his wit, his
passion, his whistling, and his ability to make wonder what language he is
speaking now. We, his family and friends, cry today because his life
seemed too short and we will miss his presence with us.
Yet our tears do not wash away the certainty that Grandpa is in the presence of you, Holy Lord. Today is a good day to cry because we shed tears of joy that
finally, after many years, he has been made whole again. Today he stands
with you and in glory. His mind is fresh and awake. Instead of the shell he was trapped in over the last couple of years, he can now communicate with you openly and honestly. Now he has moved beyond his mortal shell and has climbed into his resurrection body with you, loving Lord. He has paved the way for the rest of us and will wait patiently to greet us when we pass through the doors of death ourselves.
For Grandpa, he has passed into a world that he once knew. He has now entered into the place he believed in for much of his life. The place he sung about, read about, and prayed about is no longer for him a distant destination, now it is his eternal home. Today we cry because we are filled with joy that he is there with
you now. We thank you that your Son has made this all possible because of his sacrifice and his love for us. May we understand that the gift we are all given and may our hearts be warm today knowing that you have welcomed another one of your children home.
Support us, O Lord, all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then, in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at last through your Son. Gracious God, grant to the living, grace; to the departed, rest; to the world, peace; and to us and all the faithful, life everlasting; and the blessing of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with all of us now and for ever.
And now Lord, knowing confidently that we all are your children, may we find it in the prayer your Son taught us to pray. Our Father…