Thursday, June 14, 2012

Scripture and Eulogy for Francis Jensen


Frances H. Jensen

SCRIPTURE—Philippians 2
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.



MEDITATION

I arrived here at United Churches as pastor a little under 6 months ago. Many of you have known Frances for over 60 years. You have many thoughts and stories to share about Mrs. Jensen. And I cannot wait to hear those stories. My job at this point in this service of celebration and remembrance is not so much to tell you stories you have already heard, as it is to point to how Jesus Christ was at work in Frances’ life.

When I talked to some of you to learn more about what Frances was like, there were several words that stood out. Those words were humble, faithful, unselfish, and a servant. Many of you may think that Frances just came by these character traits naturally. The truth is, she learned them in faithful service of her Lord and Savior.

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul wrote letters to churches. One of these letters was to the church in Phillipi. In this church, there was a little bit of conflict. And by the time Paul gets going in his letter to the Philippian believers, he challenges them to remember a hymn, a song, about the character of Christ.

This hymn says that we need to be like Jesus. Specifically we need to be like Jesus by not thinking of ourselves too much, by putting others above ourselves, by not claiming our rights but by giving of ourselves to another. In doing this, we live lives that bring glory to God, and lead others to him.

This is the way Frances lived. Humbly. Sacrificially. Looking out for the needs of others. She lived life as a peacemaker. As a team player. A person who gave of herself in quiet, honorable ways.

Frances was the kind of person that always looked for the best in people. She hoped for the best of people. When someone fell on hard times, she would try and put herself in their shoes, and understand what they were going through. She could often encourage a person who was struggling by seeing a future for them that was bigger than what they believed possible. As I Corinthians says, “love hopes all things. Love believes all things.”

She liked to make things to let those that she knew and loved that she appreciated them. She was known to make wonderful brownies for people. She would often throw together a pie for her family when they visited, most often apple pie, which from what I understood was quite yummy.

She had an eye for those in need. If someone was needing some help, she would quietly try and help them. If possible, she might even anonymously help those who needed it.

In addition to making food, Frances served others and gave to others through her woodworking. She had a pretty decent workshop in her basement when she lived at home. She would make wooden toys and Christmas ornaments with saws that must have looked like they were the same size that she was.

Frances loved her community here in Hot Springs. She loved all of the Veterans things that happened here in town, and was often involved in serving and honoring those who served. She was an early supporter of the mammoth site. Regionally, she was present for the first blast at Crazy Horse.

Frances was a glue person. She was the person who kept tabs on everyone else in the family. She helped people keep up with and keep in touch with one another. Often, people would find a thoughtful card or receive an unexpected letter or even a phone call from Frances.

And, Frances was the same kind of glue person for our church. She did not have enemies. She brought people together in church, and found ways to get things done while having a lot of fun doing it.

She was passionate about making sure everyone in our congregation had the opportunity to share in communion. Often times, that meant gathering the folks at Brookside for communion when we would have our service of the Lord’s Supper.  When I arrived, she wanted to make sure that we established regular communion visits. She spoke up about this not for herself, but because she knew that there were many folks out there that could not make it to church who would not speak up about wanting or needing communion brought to them.

Frances also was a committed learner at Bible study. She was not afraid to speak up if she did not understand something, but she always spoke up with respect, humility and grace. She had an eagerness and a passion to learn, to grow in her knowledge of God, and to live out what she learned in her everyday life.

Churches, families, and our nation are built by people like Frances. People who love their neighbor and their family. People who try and serve faithfully and skillfully, and who give of themselves because that is who they are, and not because they want people to notice. People who love and invest in the community they live in.

People who have lived their lives in honest, committed service of the Lord Jesus. And, people whose beliefs did not just make it to their mouths, but people like Frances who practiced what they preached, and lived what they believed with all they had.

Frances loved Jesus. She loved her family. She loved her church. And now she is in the presence of Jesus. I believe she is hearing the words that those who lived their lives with the kind of witness, the kind of compassion, the kind of generosity, and the kind of faith that Frances had hear. Even now, I bet those words are ringing in Frances’ ears. What are they? They are the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Amen.

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