Saturday, September 6, 2008

August 22, 2008

August 22, 2008 Burial Office

Marie Frances Barth Carnahan Cline

September 6, 1911 - August 19, 2008

First of all, I would say simply a word of welcome to all, in this gathering of family and friends, and especially to Anna Marie and Jim, and Tom and Doris, as we offer our prayers for your mother this morning and commend her to God’s love and care, and for grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and all: Grace to you and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is my prayer that this time, this morning and this afternoon, will be a meaningful and loving time for you as you come together, I know from nearby in Lawrenceville, and having driven all the way up here from Florida, and from so many places. Certainly your love and commitment is a testimony to Marie’s wonderful influence and presence in your lives, and these days will be a time for many stories of the past, and for a deepening of the care that you continue to share with one another. We hear a word from scripture about hope, about the sustaining hand of God, as we are all in his hand, and as Marie now is embraced and carried home with the promise of new life in Christ, and life eternal.

She would have been 97 next month, which is an amazing thing to say, to think about. Nearly a century. She was born a few years before my father, in September of 1911, but when I think about those of that generation I am truly in awe. When Marie was born William Howard Taft was President. (And I might mention that when she was born that September future President Ronald Reagan was 7 months old. Others born in 1911 were Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Vincent Price, and Roy Rogers . . . .) Marie was a little girl when American soldiers sailed off to France to fight in the Great War, then coming of age in the 1920’s, then to think about life in the Great Depression, marriage and family, the Second War, then for her a maturity of life from the days of FDR to those of our current President Bush. Wife and mother, friend and neighbor, over all these decades. She saw a lot, in the history of the wide world, and in the private circles of her own life, family, friends.

Marie fits into the early end of the group that Tom Brokaw calls “The Greatest Generation.” And for me that has to do not so much with the big historical events, but with the hard work of day to day life through such challenging times, and the deep and solid values that made that possible: faith, hard work, family, courage, love of family, neighborhood, and country. They were heroes, some on the battlefields and some at home, but certainly none of us would be where we are today without their sacrifices and their determination. They made possible so much of the greatness of our country over this past century.

And now, from strength to strength, from life here to greater life, as we have been promised, the holy hope that we would affirm today. This wonderful passage from John 14: “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” Modern translations sometimes change this. “In my Father’s house are many rooms.” And in a way that makes sense. Houses have “rooms,” after all. But I’m going to stick with “mansions,” because I think that word directs us to a deeper truth, which is that the future that God has in mind for us, and the eternal life that Marie enjoys, is no ordinary life. It is an eternal life of abundance, and joy, and peace, and fulfillment. To be with Christ, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” And to say simply that Marie is home now, after some difficult years—and I know Jim and Anna Marie after some hard days for you here in the hospital during these last days. Home now, in the place our Lord has prepared for her, and sharing the hope we can all share and enjoy this morning and always.

May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace, and may Light Perpetual shine upon them. As we pray for Marie today. May she rest in peace, and rise in glory. Amen.

Bruce Robison

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