April’s Sermon: Gram’s Funeral

As “spoken” by my wife, April, at her Grandmother’s funeral on 7/29/09.  Olive Shawley 1/20/19-7/25/09 (Celebrating 90 years!)


I have always felt that I needed to speak at my gram’s funeral but never knew what I was going to say.  We all know how great she was so what more do I have to add?  Well, the morning gram passed, I got a couple hours of sleep and during that time, the Lord spoke to me with a perfect description of my Gram.  She’s the quote OLIVE tree unquote for so many of us.

Did you know that the word Olive is mentioned over 30 times in the Bible.

In Nehemiah 8:15 God’s word says:

and that they (they being children) should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and branches of wild olive, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.

An Olive branch is used to provide shelter.

In Romans 11:17

An olive tree provides nourishment

In Leviticus 24:2

Olives were used to make oil for lamps which provides light in darkness.

In Hosea 14:6

6 his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree,

An olive tree is beautiful.

Do you see the similarities between what God’s word has to say about an Olive and my Gram whose name just so happens to be Olive.  Maybe I’m stretching it a bit but our Olive has provided to each and everyone of us in one way or another shelter and nourishment, and has always been a beautiful light inside and out!  I think we all have experienced Gram’s shelter whether by sitting in the warmth of her kitchen or coolin’ off on her porch.  And while we’re warming up, cooling off or simply taking a break from working the farm she’s handing you a drink (coffee, iced tea, lemonade, or Pepsi), and a snack: a cookie, chips, a sliver of pie,  a dish of ice cream, a bowl of cantalope, peanut butter fudge, a slice of date nut roll.  Or how about when she’s had you over for dinner:  pig stomach, homemade pot pie, roast beef or  roast a chicken, a ham and her most recent “Hoagie’s from Jack’s”.  BUT wait, don’t forget all the trimmings:  mashed taties, fried taties, baked mac & cheese, baked beans, peas, corn, green beans, a salad, fruit salad, and her delicious homemade coleslaw.  Dare I mention dessert: apple pie, cherry pie, rhubarb pie, & homemade grapenut ice cream.

I also want to talk about how beautiful Gram was.  She always took great pride in looking so beautiful regardless of staying home or going out.  “You never know when someone might stop in for a visit” she’d say.  As well, she would never leave home w/out a necklace, earrings, watch and rings and don’t forget about her perfect hair that she would fuss about.  I have never seen any other 90 year old lady with her natural hair color.  That’s one of the many genes I’m hoping to be blessed with.

Over the years, the olive has been the symbol of peace, wisdom, glory,  and pureness. Did you know that the meaning of Olive means “fruit of the olive tree.”  Who would have known that when named as a baby Olive would grow into her name.  She had the heart of a servant who never complained.  I can’t really remember a time where she’s ever complained about having to do anything, like cooking, cleaning, doing her wash, caring for her children and grandchildren (who would run through the house leaving a trail of dirt beginning at one door and going out the other), or even her husband who she was married to for 65 years and brother-in-law Harold who lived with them for over 30 years.  She had a way of caring for everyone and making you feel so special while in her presence.  .

As I look around at who is here today, I know there isn’t one of us who my Gram hasn’t provided for in someway, shape, or fashion.   Did you know an olive tree is timeless.  It lives on for many many years and so will the legacy that my Grandmother, your mother, your mother-in-law, your aunt, your cousin, your friend is leaving behind for us.

Looking back over these characteristics of Gram, I see Christ.  Christ is a provider of shelter & nourishment, he provides light in dark times, he is beautiful, he is full of peace, wisdom, glory, pureness, and HE certainly doesn’t complain.  I have no doubt that Olive knows Christ.  It’s through Christ and knowing him as our personal Lord & savior, we have access to what Gram had and we can strive for the same goal of glorifying God.  I know Gram would want everyone to know Christ as she did.  Let me take a moment to share with you how that can happen.  There is only one way to heaven and that way is through a personal relationship with Christ who died on the cross, conquered death, so that we can be forgiven of our sins and live with Him in heaven forever.  This is God’s FREE gift two you.  Receive it today and have eternal life.

Let’s pray:

God, I thank you for your gift of Olive Shawley to us and that we as believers will see her again in heaven.  Father if there is anyone here that doesn’t know you and wants to have eternal life like Gram has I ask that they take a moment now and confess that they are a sinner and ask you to come into their life.

Thank you for a godly woman who reflects your glory leading others to you.  What an honor and privilege it has been to be a part of her life.  Thank you for her warmth and generosity that have blessed so many. Thank you for her show of strength right up to the day you took her home.    Thank you God for there was no suffering.  We place her in your hands, the hands that have healed her .  As your word declares in Revelation 21:4 You will wipe away every tear from her eye, and her death will not exist any more – she is not mourning, or crying, or in any pain, for these things have ceased to exist.”  God, I am a better person for having known her.   When you called her name, she willingly rose!

In your name, AMEN

2 Responses to April’s Sermon: Gram’s Funeral

  1. Carolyn says:

    April, that as beautiful- poetically, biblically, evangelically, and personally. I feel like I knew her too. I see a future in teaching the Bible for you! Im so glad the Lord gave it to you.

  2. Pingback: Baby name meaning and origin for Mac

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