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The Funeral for Marion Lee Davis at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Oakland, CA 2/27-28/2009

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The Evening Devotion for Marion Lee Davis vtob_021

(April 25, 1926-February 24, 2009) February 27th 2009 at 6:30pm

We do not live to ourselves and we do not die to ourselves.

If we live, we live to the Lord and if we die to die to the Lord.

So then, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

For to this end, Christ died and lived again

So that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

(Romans 14:7-9)

Here in this coffin before us, we do not have Marion, but merely Marion’s earthly remains, because she has now become a heavenly new edition!

In grieving for Marion, who crossed the threshold into eternity on Saturday night, we cry to the Lord:

Lord have mercy,

Christ have mercy,

Lord have mercy upon us!

Kyrie eleison!

What a comfort to know that Marion belonged to the Lord and our Lord will give her spirit safe-keeping, because our Lord has taken her spirit home.

In Jesus’ day, when some doubted that there was an afterlife, he corrected them. The God of Sarah, Hagar and Abraham; the God of Rebecca and Isaac; and the God of Leah, Rachel and Jacob is a God of the living and not of the dead. Therefore they are alive in God. So Marion and we also after we have passed away, will become alive in God’s heaven.

Yes, on that great gettin’ up morning.

Will you sing the “Fare thee well” part, while I sing the verses of that old spiritual that her forbears and your ancestors sang with such strong hope that their chains could not even snuff it out?

On that great getting’ up morning, Fare thee well, Fare thee well!

The Lord spoke to Gabriel, Fare thee well, Fare thee well!

Take down your silver trumpet, Fare thee well, Fare thee well!

Blow your trumpet, Gabriel, Fare thee well, Fare thee well!

Blow it as loud as thunder, Fare thee well, Fare thee well!

On that great getting’ up morning, Fare thee well, Fare thee well!

On that great getting’ up morning, Fare thee well, Fare thee well!

Place one foot on dry land, Fare thee well, Fare thee well!

Place the other on the sea, Fare thee well, Fare thee well!

Then you’ll see the coffins bustin’, etc.

See the dry bones come a-creepin’, etc.

On that great getting’ up morning, Fare thee well, Fare thee well!

On that great getting’ up morning, Fare thee well, Fare thee well!

Then you’ll see poor sinners risin’, etc.

Then you’ll see the Christians marchin’, etc.

See them marchin’ home to heaven, etc.

Then you’ll see my Jesus a comin’, etc.

And Marion will be with them, Fare thee well, Fare thee well!

On that great getting’ up morning, Fare thee well, Fare thee well!

On that great getting’ up morning, Fare thee well, Fare thee well!


Almighty God, through your only Son you overcame death and the grave and opened for us the gate to everlasting life. We thank you for your daughter Marion Davis, for the gift of her life, for the joy of having her as a mother, cousin, Godmother, family member, and friend. We thank you for receiving her, a sheep of your own pasture and a lamb of your own fold. Let her stand up on that great getting’ up morning and let us all meet each other again in your heavenly house, O Lord, filled with many mansions. We thank you that by his death, Jesus destroyed death and by his rising has given us all the promise of everlasting life. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer.

The Benediction.

The Funeral Eulogy, February 28, 2009 at 11:00am

Marion wanted us to read words that were very important to her that she had on a plaque on her wall:

“Serenity is something you may search for time to time.

It’s a state of inner peace that starts within your mind.

Find a quiet place to be, with just yourself, and you will see,

Love of self must first begin,

For peace of mind comes from within. . . .”

Yes, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Thou dost keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because s/he trusts in Thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

Back in Jesus’ day, some questioned whether or not there was an afterlife, a resurrection from the dead. Jesus told those who did not believe in it that they were quite wrong. Those who die belonging to the Lord go to be with God, where they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to the angels and are sons and daughters of God, sons and daughters of the resurrection.

Jesus said, “That the dead are raised, even Moses showed in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now God is not a God of the dead but of the living, for all live to him” (Luke 20:36f).

Now if our faith should waver here beside Marion’s earthly remains, remember that Jesus came to us from God in heaven and we can count on the fact that he knows what he is talking about. As LeVar Burton says in “Reading Rainbow,” “Don’t take my word for it!” Read the good book. Jesus himself said it.

So the way we sang yesterday, “On that great getting’ up morning,” Marion is going to fare well. Jesus is going to take her by the hand and say, “Daughter, arise!” and she will breathe the pure air of the Holy Spirit, and believe you me, she won’t have to schlep any oxygen tanks around anymore. There will be a better celebration up there than she had on her eightieth birthday and it will be with her husband Charles once again.

She is now out from under the shadow of death and she is out in the sunshine of the presence of God in heaven. Where all the saints go marchin’ in, she’ll have that big base drum strapped to her and she’ll be beating it proudly with all her family who have gone before chasing after her to keep up with her in the parade. She’ll be beating her drum with Gabriel playing his trumpet and Martin Luther King, Jr., the drum major in his beautiful white uniform, marching before.

Let’s all be there, on that great getting’ up morning! When we have been baptized in Jesus’ suffering and death, the shadow of death has already passed over us and we are already in a way, in the sunshine of God’s presence, doing God’s will with love and pleasure, just like Marion now up in heaven.

So we can die to sin and come alive to God even here where we have a foretaste of heaven and even share that taste of heaven with others.

Jesus’ death on the cross for us put death to death. O death, now where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? Our victory over suffering and death came to us by the Lord of Life, Jesus Christ. So really the older we get, the more we need to rejoice, because we are closer to the land of laughter and the celebration up in heaven. If we keep sorrowing for our youth, then we have forgotten that our destiny is in heaven and a coffin, a grave, a dead body, cannot keep us out of the loving arms of our wonderful Lord Jesus and his heavenly Father, who sent him to save us. Amen.

Let us pray:

Oh Lord, we know that your daughter Marion is now safe in your arms with all the heavenly saints on high. But comfort those of us here she left behind, who mourn her loss. Ah Lord, we will miss her, her cheerful and uncomplaining attitude and her profound courage. Yes, comfort us who will miss her and mourn her loss. We thank you for making the way for us through suffering, death, and the grave into your realm of heaven, where our many mansions await us, the mansions you have prepared for us await us. O death where is your sting?

O grave, where is your victory? Our victory is the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, who makes us rise even here, and will certainly raise us up over there. Amen.


Written by peterkrey

March 1, 2009 at 8:21 am

One Response

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