By John Worley
Jesus my redeemer has been the anchor of my soul, an anchor hidden behind the veil because He preceded us and opened up access to the safe harbor of heaven. Where he is, I am now also.
I asked to have this read to you at my memorial service to share with you some of my final thoughts. You, my family and my fellow believers in this community of faith, were in these thoughts. In reminding myself of all I had to be thankful for, it occurred to me that you also share in those things because of this safe haven on earth that the Lord has brought us to, which we call Faith Community Church. My last 20 years in this church have been more nurturing and satisfying than all the years I spent in pastoral ministry. You are this church and Christ Jesus is your Lord. For that, be grateful today and rejoice.
As a father and particularly a Christian husband, it was hard to think of not being here to fulfill my role to shepherd my family and to nurture and protect my wife. God graciously gave me peace in this, because he made us to be part of this church. I have served with the elders of this church and they are exemplary men of faith, integrity and wisdom. I have no misgivings about entrusting my wife Judy to their spiritual watch care. I am comforted especially by Scripture’s promise that God will become husband to the widow whose God is the Lord.
This is an immensely caring church; a burden bearing, interconnected body that loves in both word and deed. A Church rooted in sound doctrine, biblical proclamation and godly consistency of lifestyle. And so, I entrust Judy, Jackie and the generations of her family into the care of this congregation as well. They will grieve and you will grieve with them, grieving is normal and to be expected. What is not normal or acceptable is obsessive persistence in grief. I don’t expect it will be necessary, but if need be, come along side and help them to move on in living. Our living is for the Lord and His purposes. Life will be filled with losses of all kinds and occasional gains as well. Death is part of life. It is an inescapable occurrence that our Sovereign God has predestined for each of us.
Having had an advanced approximation of the approach of my death (with a few unexpected extensions), it made each final day bring a special awareness of the grace and mercy of God renewed every morning. It heightens one’s appreciation for what God is accomplishing in each of us as he daily makes us his workmanship, creating in advance, daily good works i.e. faithful stewardship responses to opportunities given by God. There is an old saying, “You should not wait till someone’s funeral to say something nice about them.” In like manner we should not wait till we know we are dying, to experience each day with a spirit of rejoicing and thankfulness to our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m glad I didn’t wait, I hope you don’t either. In Him alone there is life eternal.
In conclusion let me add that some of you will no doubt miss my presence or our opportunities to interact. I wanted to say that I will miss you all as well. Realistically however, I expect I will be so occupied with experiencing all the wonders and the worship in being absent from the body but present with the Lord that, as the old hymn puts it, ” the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
“John Worley III was an elder at FCC from 1996-2016. John went home to be with the Lord in 2016.”