Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Services for Ginger Bruce

Funeral Services for Ginger Bruce
January 12, 2010

Ginger Bruce was my friend. Whatever words I say this morning will not heal the hurt we feel. The only words that provide lasting comfort are the words of Scripture: Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted... Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.”

Ginger was my friend. Proverbs 17:17 states “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Proverbs 18:24 “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
Proverbs 16:28 “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.”
And in John 15:13ff Jesus says “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father, I have made known to you.”

I count myself blessed to have enjoyed the company of several real friends in my life. Richard Scogin, Amber Martin, Annabel Mize, Chuck Dowden, James McLemore, my beautiful Tami, and a few more. Let me add Ginger Bruce to that list. She was my friend.

We worked together for about six or seven years at First Baptist Church where she was the Church Secretary and I was the pastor. Each morning when I arrived we would drink a cup of coffee together. During coffee break we would have another. And we would talk. Just talk. Usually nothing deep, or serious, or significant. Just chatter. Of course we talked about things like bulletins and budgets and newsletters.
But we also talked about her hopes and dreams for you – her family. She would tell me how well Luke had done on his spelling tests. “Well, Luke got a 100 on his spelling test yesterday.” She believed in you, Luke. She wanted the very best for you. If she could be here to comfort you today, she would.
We also talked about things like how hard Larry was working to earn his real estate license. Never once did she ever have anything negative to say about you. Not even once. Her love for you was fiercely devoted. You were blessed to have her for nearly 40 years.
We would talk about Allison and Brad and Joanie and of course she would tell me about those sweet grandchildren.
We walked together through the illness and loss of her father, and her worries about her mother. She was a fine daughter and you know if she could prevent you the grief you face she would.
We talked about her love for Temple Church and the people who are Temple. She would tell me what Don or Ms. Ruth Cuny had taught on Sunday. She told me about the songs and the sermons. And just for the record, Jason... she REALLY enjoyed your preaching. Members of her various Sunday School classes would regularly stop by for coffee and just to visit. Sharon, LeaAnn, Janet, SheBobby and a bunch of others. You were more than friends to her... you were the sisters she never had.

She loved, and missed, her work at Commonwealth. She spent 19 years there and was hurt deeply when that business closed. But her co-workers there, and even her customers there, remained among her dearest friends.
She loved the folks at First Baptist. While her loyalty to Temple as a member never once wavered, she was faithful and forthright as she could possibly be to the people at First Baptist and her job as Church Secretary. She gave you her very best, and that’s all anyone can ask.

And she did love the Lord. Ginger was never a procrastinator. She always got her work done as soon as she could. Time after time I would walk in on her when she had a few minutes free time and catch her reading her Bible. We talked for hours about what Jesus meant here, and how what the people of God experienced in Biblical days reflected what we face in the 21st century.

She was my friend. And yours. I miss her already, as I know you do. But we are comforted in knowing that today she is in the hands of God. And you can find comfort in knowing that you did your very best for her during her illness. You were there for her. You gave her the best in medical care. You loved her and she loved you.

Know that God hurts with you today. When you hurt, He hurts. And He will be beside you each day as you grieve.

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