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Rebecca Shillinglaw Moore
A Funeral Service
Good Friday, April 13, 2001
Brother Lawrence was a man of humble beginnings who discovered the greatest secret of living in the Kingdom of God here on earth. It is the art of "practicing the presence of God in one single act that does not end." Lawrence often stated that it is God who paints himself into the depths of our soul. We merely open our hearts to receive him and his loving presence. Lawrence held no high offices and was totally unknown in his own time. He was a cook in a monestary, yet he learned a spiritual lesson through his daily chores. He learned that the time he spent in communion with the Lord should be the same whether he was bustling around the kitchen, or on his knees in prayer. He learned to cultivate the deep presence of God so thoroughly in his own heart that he was able to joyfully exclaim, "I am doing now what I will do for all eternity. I am blessing God, praising him, adoring him, and loving him with all my heart."
Thomas a Kempis had much in common with Lawrence. He was the novice master for the "Brothers of the Common Life," a monastic group in fifteenth century Holland. Thomas wrote a book titled "Of the imitation of Christ." Thomas again was almost unknown in his own time. He held no high offices. He would nto have been listed as one of the leaders of the faith, yet over the last 500 years, his book has become one of the most widely read Christian works, outside the Bible. His book is important because it talks about the kind of life the Christian is supposed to live. Thomas advocated a simple quiet life of love. He did not believe in too much talk. One of his chapters is entitled "Of Avoiding Unnecessary Talking." He did nto believe in emotional displays. Another chapter is entitled "Of Inordinate Affectations." He did not trust theological disputation. He once said that it does no good to dispute about the trinity, that it is far more important to live love.
Let me mention a third person here: Jeanne Marie Guyon was a lady who had a lot of unhappiness in her life. She had an unhappy marriage. She was a Roman Catholic, but she had an unhappy relationship with her church. In her time and place--which was seventeenth century france--she never had any opportu;nity to do much of anything. She was forced to live a very quiet, very restricted life, yet she turned all this to an advantage by fully allowing God into her live. Thus she could say, "In losing all the gifts, with all their supports, I found the Giver." (p194 Autobiography of Madame Guyon, Moody Press, Chicago).
These three folks that I have mentioned, Brother Lawrence, Thomas a Kempis, Madame Guyon, represent a tradition in Christianity that the authentic Christian life is what we might call the quiet life or the simple life.
Real christians are not the people who make the most noise about christianity, not the people who do the most preaching about christianity but the people who juist live it in a simple unadorned straightforward way. The best Christians are not the ones who are known as "movers and shakers" of the faith, but those who make christ real in the midst of an ordinary life, and their lives are not ordinary at all, because they are sanctified by Christ.
Becky Moore lived that kind of life. You knew her. Rebecca Shillinglaw Moore was 88 years old, born January 31, 1913 in York. She was a sister, she was a wife and a mother. She had grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a nurse. Thus she lived a long and full life, and we praise God for that life among us. She lived quietly. She did not say a lot. She was in the tradition of the great mystics of the faith who are more interesting in living for God than in talking about God. Her choice of career indicates that. She was a nurse. She helped to allievate physical suffering.
Like Brother Lawrence, she practiced her faith everyday. Several family members have told me that they never heard her, in her entire life, say anything against, anyone. She was a sweet Christian. I remember a sermon, preached years ago by an old preacher--I have forgotten his name--but the title of the sermon was, "How to Keep Sweet." His theme was that we Keep Sweet by keeping the golden rule, by doing unto others as we want them to do unto us. Becky did that. She did not say bad things about other people. She did not put down, she did not gossip. She was a sweet, gentle lady.
Becky was not given to emotional displays. In times of trouble she did not spend a lot of time crying and bewailing her fate, at least not in public. In the language of psychology, she internalized her problems. Now in part that ws just her personality. She was a quiet person. But also it was because her focus was not on herself but on others. She did not spent time crying about what happened to her, because she was thinking about others.
Also in her quiet way, she had a good sense of humor. She had a great smile, she was a pleasure to be around. That is a great testimony isnt it? She was a pleasure to be around.
She was an inspiration to others. People saw her, saw her life, were inspired by what they saw. So we could say that Becky did evangelizm just by being what she was.
I have known Becky about ten years and I can give her that highest praise that we give a church member. She was faithful. As long as she was able, she came to church. She was faithful in her church attendance as she was faithful to her lord in ever aspect of her life.
Now she has claimed the reward of faith. Now she has claimed the promises.
Today let us focus on the promises that we find in John 14,because I think that this is a passage of scripture that Becky would have recommended to us.
Verse 1. Let not your heart be troubledChrist tells his disciples not to be afflicted at his leaving them, that if they reposed their confidence in God, he would protect them; and that, howsoever they might see him treated, they should believe in him more firmly, as his sufferings, death, and resurrection should be to them the most positive proof of his being the Messiah, the Savior of the world.
We should stress three words
1]Troubled. Do not be anxious or tormented or distressed.
2]Heart. Let your heart be kept with full trust in God. Have faith in God. The word heart here is synonomous with soul. Lift up your soul to God and God alone.
3]Your. Whatever else is going on around you, however much others are in a panic, do not let it be so with you. Christs disciples, more than others, should keep their minds quiet, when everything else is unquiet.
Ye believe in God, believe also in me. Place your confidence in God, and in christ as the Mediator between God and man; and expect the utmost support from God; but expect it all through Christ. At this point, the disciples had lost hope that Christ would establish some sort of secular kingdom, and were discouraged. Christ promises them a spiritual and heavenly inheritance, and thus lifts up their drooping hearts.
Verse 2. In my Fathers house, etc. The kingdom of glory.
Many mansions Though Jesus has said before that where he was going they cannot come now, yet he emphasizes that they shall not be forever separated. Christ is going to that state of glory where there is not only a place of supreme eminence for himself, but also places for all his disciples.
If-not-I would have told you. If your places were not prepared in the kingdom of God, I would not have permitted you to have indulged a vain hope concerning future blessedness.
Verse 3. And if I go And when I shall have gone and prepared a place for you-I shall have opened the kingdom of an eternal glory for your reception, and for the reception of all that shall die in the faith, I will come again, after my resurrection, and give you the fullest assurances of this state of blessedness; and confirm you in the faith, by my grace and my Spirit.
We are reminded here of Numbers 10:33 where the ark of the Lord went before the people of Israel to search out a resting place for them. Even so Christ is our ark who prepares a rest for us.
Verse 4. And whither I go ye know I have told you this so often and so plainly that ye must certainly have comprehended what I have said.
Verse 5. Lord, we know not Thomas, perhaps, thought that our Lord only spoke of his going some distance from the place where he then was.
Verse 6. I am the WAY That leads so the Father:-the TRUTH that teaches the knowledge of God, and directs in the way:-the LIFE that animates all those who seek and serve him, and which is to be enjoyed eternally at the end of the way.
No man cometh unto the Father By any other doctrine, by any other merit, or by any other intercession than mine.
If you have questions or comments, email Tony Grant
Copyright 2000 York Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
Last modified, 04/26/01