Eulogy for My Grandmother
I delievered this eulogy at my grandmother’s funeral one year ago today. I post it here in memory of her, and hope that this might be helpful for those who may give a eulogy/funeral sermon sometime in the future.
Royce Hall’s Eulogy for Barbara Hall
Beloved friends and family, it is my honor to be able to speak to you today at the funeral of my grandma. For those of you who do not know me or do not remember me, my name is Royce Hall, and I am the son of Mark Hall, the second son of Barbara Hall. It is my honor to share some of my memories today and to offer a short meditation to all of you.
I think that all of us have many fond memories of Grandma, such as the pecan pie that only she could make. I have had many pecan pies throughout my life, but none have ever matched Grandma’s. The same could be said for Grandma’s special sweet tea. Even though we have gotten the recipe, and Dad has tried making tea with the same bags, same amount of sugar, same cooking time, it is just not the same. I will always remember the chocolate chip cookies GP (our nickname for Grandpa) said were so good you could not eat just one, and the chili she made, which GP would eat and spit out the beans,
I will also always remember the large family gatherings at Grandma’s house for Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving, and all the leftovers for the many days after. I will remember Grandma’s Christmas tree angel that she has had for as long as I can remember. I will remember going out to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving; eating too much turkey, eating a ton of dinner rolls (one of my favorites), eating her stuffing (which Heather always loved), and enjoying the special fruit salad she made for those of us who were opposed to bananas.
I think all of us grandkids will remember searching tirelessly for the golden egg at Easter, and posing in our dress clothes as Grandma took what seemed to be rolls upon rolls of pictures. We will cherish the memories of the sleepovers at her house, and the long nights playing dominos, rook, and more recently taboo and catch phrase. Her friends will remember the pies she always brought to those who were sick or going through a trial. And surely we will all remember Grandma’s massive bell collection.
We will also remember her gentle spirit, her sweet laugh, her generosity and love. She was perennially kind, and a blessing to be around. In fact, we loved being around her so much that some of us (Dad) never wanted to go home. That is, until she said the magic words: “Mark, go home.” She has been a great mom, grandma, sister, friend, teacher, baby-sitter, and discipliner (Grandkids, you know who you are).
Above all of this I want us to remember Grandma’s faith today. I think that Grandma has prayed for almost everyone in this room hundreds of times. She would spend at least two hours a day in prayer in meditation. In fact, the first time she met my wife she told her she was so happy to meet her and was happy she had another person to pray for. I remember her telling me several times that she prayed for me daily, and I am sure that many of you can say the same. She has been a great spiritual guide and inspiration for many of us. So, I want to lead us in a short meditation on Psalm 23 and how it is a good picture of Grandma’s faith in the God of the Bible.
Let me read that passage now.
Psalm 23:1-6 A PSALM OF DAVID. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
The author of this Psalm was David, the king of Israel. As king he had many enemies, and frequently fought in wars. His life was constantly in danger. He is also remembered as a great man of faith; the man after God’s own heart. In the first three verses of this Psalm, David pictures God as the good shepherd. He makes sure that his flock, that is, his followers, does not suffer any need. He brings his sheep into meadows that are full of food, and tranquil water that is easy to drink from. He makes sure that the sheep stay in a good path. He makes sure that his followers are taken care of so that his name will be praised.
I think these verses are a good picture of Grandma’s trust in the Lord. She trusted in the faithfulness of God and that he would not lead her into evil. She trusted the Lord to provide for her needs, and he did. He provided Grandma with a wonderful husband, a great family, and a church and friends that she loved. More importantly, God blessed her with faith in Christ. He opened her eyes to the truth of the Bible and to the salvation in those words. She lived to honor her Lord, who is Jesus, our God, and to help others do likewise. Many of us will remember her teaching Sunday school, helping in the WMU, and praying for us. I think it is obvious to all of us that she loved, and trusted him to be her good shepherd.
But as David mentions in verses 4-5, life is not always easy. David feared as he walked through the valleys. Who knows what evil people may be lurking in the shadows, waiting to prey on unsuspecting victims? But David did not fear because the Lord protected him as a good shepherd protects and guides his sheep with his rod and staff. Even though David was surrounded by enemies, the Lord blessed him by preparing a lavish dinner for him. There was no fear because the Lord is blessing David, and as the last verse teaches, there is no end to this blessing. It cannot be taken away. David has the peace of knowing that he will dwell in the presence of the king of the universe for all time. There is no fear or sadness there, only blessing.
This is the faith that Grandma had throughout her tough times, even in her final days. She could trust that the Lord would bless her even in difficult times in her life. This is the hope that we can have as Christians. God promises that he will bless us in every way in Jesus, the Christ. We may not see this blessing fully in this life. We may not have treasures here on Earth. We may not have long lives. We may not have big houses. We may even suffer. There are times that we may be hurt by friends and family. We might even lose loved ones like we have now. This is a difficult time for those of us who were very close to Grandma Barbara. We have lost an irreplaceable friend and family member. But for those of us who are Christians we can cling to the promises of God through the gospel as Grandma did. We can look forward to a day when Christ will return and will take away pain and suffering. He will finish the work he began at the cross and finally defeat death. There will be no more death and no more suffering. In your dark times you should cling to this hope as Grandma did. This world cannot promise joy and peace and happiness, but God can promise these things in Heaven. Hold fast to this hope as Grandma did.
For those of you who are not Christians, I want you to consider the hope that you have today. We will leave behind friends, family, and possessions at the end of our days. This world has many pleasurable things to offer. There is wonderful food, music, paintings, and countless other things. There are exciting trips and vacations. Friends we love, and family we cherish. Perhaps you are relying on these things to help you cope in your life struggles, but I want you to consider that all of these things will pass away. All that this world has to offer is fleeting. Time will erase all of these things eventually. But as the final verse of this Psalm states, the Lord’s blessing in Christ follows us throughout this life and also for the eternity that awaits us after this life is over. It is only the Lord that offers a lasting hope that cannot be affected by the hardships of this world. It is only the Lord that can offer blessings that will never fade.
So, how do you have access to the blessings of God in the next life? How can you have the hope of life without end? Of eternal peace? Of new life with no pain or suffering? How can you have the hope of becoming a child of the Lord who owns the entire universe? It is through faith in the gospel.
Let me briefly explain what the gospel is. First it is that the God of the Bible created the universe out of nothing, and is completely holy and worthy of praise. He rules over all things, and we should give him glory in all parts of our life. Second, the gospel is that we have displeased God by disobeying him and not giving him the glory that he deserves. We have all taken his glory for ourselves in our pride and our rebellion against his rules. Third, the gospel is that God has graciously sent Jesus Christ to die as a sacrifice on our behalf. We have angered God, the king of the universe, and are worthy of death. But if we trust in Christ for our salvation, then he take our place and dies the death we deserved. Christ is both fully God and fully man, making him the perfect and only sacrifice we need. Our good works do not save us. It is solely by believing in Christ for our salvation that we are saved and can have a loving relationship with God. Finally, the gospel is that we must turn away from our sin, which is, our disobedience to the will of God, and follow him. It is our privilege to please God and have fellowship with him as his children. This is how we show our love of God and belief in the gospel.
So, the gospel is made up of four parts: it contains information about God, information about sinful man, information about Jesus, and our response to this information. The gospel is about our relationship to God, and it is through believing this gospel that God draws us into his family and gives us access to his blessings. If you have not put your faith in this gospel today, I urge you to do so.
Grandma was a child of God. She believed the gospel. She could have hope in her dark hours because of the promises that God made to her through the gospel. She is now seeing the fulfillment of those hopes in Heaven. She is no longer struggling. She is no longer hurting. She will never hurt or fear again. She is in the land of blessing and unending joy. I encourage you to have faith as she did, and draw strength from the gospel as she did. We will greatly miss her, but what a blessing to know that she is in a much greater place than any of us are.