Chapter Four

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The double funeralwas a sad affair. There were no plans for a graveside service. Onlythe family planned to go for the burial. Marcie and Joshua had beenasked by the Kinyard's to sit with them. The Hoings pretended to beglad to see them, but the tension could have been cut with a knife asthey sat together.

Joshua had beenasked to deliver the eulogy. He felt it was one of the most difficultthings he had ever had to do.

"We must look tothe Lord during these days of sorrow. John 14: 1-4 tells us: Let notyour hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In myFather's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have toldyou that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare aplace for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, thatwhere I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I amgoing."

He paused a moment.

"Take comfort inknowing Tony and Marcie are there."

He paused again.

"What can be saidabout your best friends? We grew up together, we laughed together,and even cried together. One never expects something like this. We goabout our lives and we..." He bowed his head for a moment. "Tonywas always a leader. He was captain of our football team in highschool and the best quarterback in the state." He smiled. "Hasthe trophies to prove it. He was always there for me. We had somegood times." He looked over at the Kinyards. "Some of ourfunniest moments I would share with you, but, well, I don't want toblemish his mother's and father's image of him."

People chuckled.

"We took differentpaths in life. He became a lawyer and I became a preacher. Thatnever separated us or his love for Christ. There are many of you herethat can attest to that. He was a lifelong member of Grace ChristianChurch, a deacon and a friend to many."

He paused for amoment.

"Heather andMarcie had been friends longer than Tony and me, I think. The two ofthem shared everything. Yep, they were the inseparable, unrelatedtwins. I can't think of single date with Marcie in high schoolwithout Tony and Heather tagging along.

"We even gotmarried together. A double wedding, at the church we grew up in. Idid, however, put my foot down when we went on our honeymoon. Yeah,we got separate rooms in the hotel we stayed in on the beach ofHawaii."

Small laughs filledthe chapel.

"Heather was agood friend. She was always there for us when we needed her. I don'tthink any of our children were born without her being there. She wasan active part of the church, played the piano at each morningservice, served others that were sick or grieving."

He choked.

"She was just oneof those people who was always there when you needed her."

He wiped away atear.

"I don't want tosay goodbye." He turned and looked at the two closed caskets behindhim. "Tony, Heather, you are going missed by so many."

He turned back tothe congregation of mourners.

"In Romans 8:16-17Paul tells us: The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit thatwe are children of God, and if children, then heirs ⸺ heirs of Godand fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in orderthat we may also be glorified with him.

And then in 2Corinthians 5: 6-8 we read: So we are always of good courage. We knowthat while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord, forwe walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and wewould rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord."

He cleared histhroat.

"They are at homewith the Lord now. There waiting for us to follow. Our day will come.If you aren't a believer, I will pray for you, for your day will cometoo. We will all be in judgment together. Will you be forgiven by ourLord or will you be one of those that will be cut off forever? Let usbow our heads."

He waited a fewseconds and then began.

"Lord, your threedays in the tomb, hallowed the graves of all who believe in you. Yourresurrection was a sign of hope and a promise that these mortalbodies will someday be immortalized to live with you in your kingdom.Grant our brother and sister peaceful rest until they awaken inglory, for you are the resurrection and the life. May they someday,as we all hope to do, see you face to face and stand in your light toknow the splendor of God, for you live and reign forever and ever.

God our Father, yourpower brought us forth in birth, your providence has guided usthrough life, and by your command we shall return to dust. Those ofus who die, still remain in your presence, our lives changed by notat end. I pray in hope for the families, relative and friendsgathered here today to say goodbye. I pray for their son, Eric, stillso young. Let him know he is not alone. I pray for all the dead whoknow you, for none have died alone but in you alone. Now, in companywith Christ, who died and now lives, may we all rejoice in yourKingdom. Wipe away our tears, dry every eye, for we know we will beunited again in one family, to sing praises to our God. Amen"

Marcie then stoodand in a sweet aCapella voice began to sing.

"Whenpeace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billowsroll; whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it iswell with my soul."

Sheheard Mrs Hoing sob behind her.

"Itis well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul."

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