Kindness and Love

This is my family. My siblings, their spouses and their children and grandchidren. We gathered this morning to honor my mom's life and faith. A number of us took part. I shared these brief remarks and prayer.

Just a few words before we pray together. Proverbs 21:21 says: Whoever goes hunting for what is right and kind finds life itself – glorious life. (The Message)

Here’s what’s beautiful about that verse – that kind of life is what shines light into a dark world. We sometimes imagine it’s success or power or wealth or governments that make the biggest difference in the world. But it’s not. It’s a woman changing and washing roughly 56,000 cloth diapers, wiping countless noses, and cleaning endless globs of toothpaste from the bathroom sink.

There’s a quote my family cherishes that says it well. In a scene from the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf, one of the story’s central and powerful characters, is asked why he had chosen a very ordinary Hobbit like Bilbo Baggins to play a part in the important work of reclaiming the dwarves’ homeland from the darkness of the evil dragon.

Gandalf answers - that some believe “it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that it is not what I have found’” he says.

“I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? I don’t know. Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.”

I admit that sometimes when I look at the darkness in our world - I am afraid. But the experience of so much love and ordinary goodness shared by mom and
given to mom by all of you - demonstrates the even deeper, unshakable,
ever-present love of God. And it gives me courage. I hope it does you too.

Let’s pray.

Gracious God – from endless ages, from one generation to the next you have been our refuge and strength. For making Alberta Hoekwater in your image, and giving her the gifts of humor and hospitality, joy and generosity, faith and family, courage and deep conviction – we thank you. Each one of us carries the treasure of her impact on our life. May we find joy in our memories of her and be inspired with courage and perseverance when our paths are difficult. We are holding so many emotions in this moment, Tender Sheperd, lament, sadness, a sense of having lost our anchor. But mostly, God, we’re thankful. What a gift you have given us! Mom would point us to you as our anchor and the deep love you demonstrated to us through Jesus. It’s in that
strong name we pray. Amen