On All Saints Sunday, we remember those who have passed into eternity from our immediate community and are somehow connected to the community of Faith that I serve. Keeping in mind that all who have gone before us have left us LOVE that no one can steal.
This year it was more poignant than ever before. On November 1, 2017, which is All Saints Day in the life of the Church, our community lost a community pillar who was a colleague and a friend – David Scotland.
During the worship service when I was serving Communion (by Intinction), as each person walked towards the broken bread and the cup of the new covenant, my heart moved, and tears began to roll down… I was moved beyond words to see the people I love, the people who love me, but most of all the beloved of God – Yes, All are beloved of God. A few individuals asked if I was ok, I replied, “Yes”, because I was truly fine, but the Presence of Love, Care and Compassion was so real, you can almost touch it, hold it, hug it and feel it.
So, today, I want to share with you what I shared with the funeral attendees on November 6, where we bid goodbye to David Wiley Scotland. May it be a blessing to you, as it was a blessing to me to write it and to share it at Dave’s Chapel at his funeral.
Dearly Beloved, Monday, November 6, 2017
We gather here today in the name of Love.
We are assembled to bid farewell to the physical form of an amazing man known to all, as David Wiley Scotland. For a few he was known as brother, dad, partner, uncle, cousin, neighbour, co-worker and a friend – but for all he came across his path through his caring work, he was known as the man who wore his heart on his sleeve.
Today, I am honored to be asked to do the opening prayer for this celebration of life, with a short opening remarks. As David will make sure that he did his best, as a minister serving this community, I strive today to share a few words to honour my colleague and friend Dave, before the opening prayer.
I met David when I was just a student minister in 2009, when he took me under his wings, with Roger and taught me the protocol of officiating funerals – his protocol was based on love, respect and integrity. He helped me shape up in the vocation that I was being called for.
Dave did not only be a teacher to me, he became an older brother, a friend. On our drives to long distance funerals, we managed to share the joys of our lives. He shared the accomplishments of his pride and joy – His daughters and his partner. When he spoke about them his eyes lit up and his face just shined. In the recent months, he kept on repeating what it meant for him to go to New Orleans. He kept on saying “New Orleans was on my bucket list, Takouhi. Oh, what a treat it was to be there. Have you been there, if you have not, you must”. I told him that I had been there, and the conversations shifted by sharing details of our trips. We tried to keep sane, in a profession that was always a balancing act.
Maybe not many of you know, but on Wednesday, November First, the day Dave departed from us, was “All Saints Day” – I do not need to say more for a compassionate man with unsurpassed leadership – as my colleagues and I echo together and say, “One of a kind in his field”. He made sure all who worked with him carried out the work in the same manner. The Scotland’s Funeral Home gave their best to all who came their way. Thank YOU!
Rev. Don Maclean, heard about Dave’s passing and shared a sermon that he had written that included Dave in the sermon. With Dave’s permission had had written the sermon. So, thanks to e-mail, Rev. McLean sent me a copy of that sermon and I want to pass it on to the family. I will give it to Scotland’s to pass it on to the family. And this brings me to my last point to share.
Not many would know, especially those who do not live in Elgin, that Dave has been a long-time member of Elgin United Church. Exactly two weeks ago when he was at church, after the worship service he came to greet me and said, “Another good one Takouhi, that should carry me through – Job Well done – See you soon!”
I want to conclude with a short anecdote that I found out yesterday…
A few months ago, when Dave was at Elgin United Church, the gathering song that we sang was, “The Power of Your Love”. After the church service, Dave had turned to a few of the singers and had said, “When I die, I want you to sing that song at my funeral” and of course the choir members turned and said, “No, no, you will learn the song and sing it to us…”
So, yesterday as we began our worship celebration on All Saints Sunday, at Elgin United Church, we lit a candle in Dave’s memory, indicating that no matter how the physical life diminishes the light that Dave brought to all, will never diminish; and we started celebrating Dave’s Life with tears and laughter, with the choir singing Dave’s favourite song and we shared communion by remembering all the saints who have touched our hearts – including Dave.
Today, I am not going to sing Dave’s favourite song, but I want to read the lyrics – and I have copies made for the family to have, which will be in the same envelope as the sermon from Rev. Mclean.
Here are the words of the song:
“The Power of Your Love”
Lord I come to You
Let my heart be changed, renewed
Flowing from the grace
That I found in You.
And Lord I’ve come to know
The weaknesses I see in me
Will be stripped away
By the power of Your love.
Hold me close
Let Your love surround me
Bring me near
Draw me to Your side.
And as I wait
I’ll rise up like the eagle
And I will soar with You
Your Spirit leads me on
In the power of Your love.
Lord unveil my eyes
Let me see You face to face
The knowledge of Your love
As You live in me.
Lord renew my mind
As Your will unfolds in my life
In living every day
by the power of Your love.
Beloved, please join me in your hearts for the opening prayer.
Holy One, whose ways are Mysterious, and whose Grace is immeasurable. Today we come to you at this untimely death, broken and shattered, angry and in need of consolation, longing for The Spirit of Peace to comfort us. Heal the hearts made heavy by the loss of your beloved, Dave Scotland. Through our tears, help us see beyond the physical, and remember that energy never dies, just changes form, just like the physicist say.
Eternal Love, you are with us in life, in death, and in life beyond death.
Today we trust David in your eternal care, as you had trusted him to us on this earth.
May Your Peace that surpasses all understanding be evident to us All. Today and always. Amen.