(A funeral sermon for an Alzheimer’s man)
We just love “the threes”. How many jokes are told in threes, “A priest, a minister and a rabbi walk into a bar…” From the Three Stooges, to the Three Musketeers to Patty, Maxine and Laverne; we think things in three. “Ready, set, go?”
“Father, Son, Spirit,” anyone? Jesus didn’t spend two days in the tomb, the whale story was not four days, Judas received three times 10, Peter doesn’t lie just one time about knowing Jesus and Wisconsin has three of them: summer, spring and a long winter.
The number three. A triad for life.
There’s a biblical story that’s not found in the Bible and the story explains life through three objects, “Jack and Beanstalk.” It’s the “magic beans,” “the harp” and the “golden egg.” The mystery of life trying to be interpreted.
How did Cletus work out his life’s three objects? How are we doing with those three?
The “magic beans” is by selling the animal that makes milk, “mother.” Cletus needed to trade mother for his own maturity, his own freedom; “to be on his own,” we say to young people. With those “magic beans” a “vine of life” is set before him – “the sky’s the limit?” we say to youngsters off to college. The beans steals the “harp” and the “golden egg.” Stolen to become our own. “Nothing in life is free?” we say to those who don’t try.
The “harp” is our professional lives – recognizing and using our gifts “to make something of ourselves,” we say to ourselves before our first job interview. The beautiful melodies of expressing our passion toward work defines a society. The “golden egg” is our personal lives. Precious but fragile, cherished yet shaky, “like walking on eggshells” we sometimes feel.
Cletus needed to collect all three items. He must have done a good job because he had a long life and you are all here today to witness his new life with our Creator. Cletus showed us how fragile that “golden egg” can be with his confused mind at the end of his life. “Pleasantly confused but always a joy to be around,” is how one Health Center nurse described Cletus. If my “egg” cracks, I can only hope for that same disposition.
I wish you remember Jack’s items as you continue on with your three “stolen” but magical gifts.
Before I conclude, I have three more to off you: Hope, trust and luck.
Hope in a faith-filled future for ourselves and all those around us.
Trusting in the mercy of our all-embracing God and Luck.
The Chicago Cubs had all three that final game. Hope for a win after all those years, trusting in their athletic abilities and lucky for that 20-minute rain that quieted them down to regain a resolve to win.
We pray for nothing more in our own lives.
Lots of hope to fill us up along the way,
with a growing, enduring trust
and just enough bits of luck thrown in.