Memorial Service for a Forumite
According to Carolyn Kendall, Meredith Sprunger compiled this service shortly after he read the book and suggested to Dr. Sadler that there ought to be a Urantia funeral service. Dr. Sadler told him to go to it and this was the result. This was actually the first public Urantia service after the book was out and took place at a funeral home on North Clark St in Chicago. A large mob of ex-Forum folks showed up and it was a party atmosphere. C. would have love it.
Carolyn recalls that a variation of the same service was presented in 1969 by Meredith for Dr. Sadler's public funeral, and a lot of very amusing anticdotes about WSS's life were added. Later, most people wanted to prepare their own services; they thought this service was too churchy.
M E M O R I A L S E R V I C E
Wednesday, September 2, 1959 8:30 P.M.
6216 N. Clark St. Chicago, Illinois
Harold Karrer, reader
II. PRELUDE: On this occasion we are gathered here to honor the memory of a departed friend, one who has finished his life in the habiliments of mortal flesh, not because life is over but because it has risen to more glorious possibilities; not because the darkness has closed in but because life has opened into the eternal morning. We come to share this common faith, this eternal verity.
III. BIOGRAPHY: C. B. was born on May 3, 1889, in Williamsburg, Kentucky; the son of ________ and ________. He was the brother of _______, who died in infancy, and of _____ and _____. Family circumstances forced him to leave school after the sixth grade, but many years later he passed prerequisite examinations for entrance to the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he studied for about a year. Those who knew him realized C. strove to educate himself.
Fifty-five years ago, on September 1, 1904, Mr. B. began his career in the United States postal service. His work was interrupted for two years during the first World War while he served with the Air Force detachment of the United states Army. During this time he was stationed in London and Paris. His postal career ended in retirement in 1956.
C. married A. at her home in Oldtown, Kentucky, on August 24, 1931. The couple then settled in Defiance, Ohio, where their two children were born: _____ the following year, and _____. In 1943 the family moved to Chicago, where C. had lived off and on since 1912. Ten years later they moved to suburban Prospect Heights.
He is the grandfather of _____, _____, and _____. Mr. B. had a wide variety of interests, which embraced creative writing, philosophy, foreign languages, and classical music. His particular interest, religion, fostered a trust in the positive outcome of most of life's problems.
A friend recently said of C.: " … the principles he advocated will stand as a monument to his memory.”
On August 31, 1959, after a long illness, he terminated his mortal career on this world.
IV. PRAYER: Eternal Father, we are grateful that in your plan there is for every individual an eternal purpose of boundless opportunity, unlimited progress, and endless life. May each of us strive at each step to anticipate this goal of eternity and perfection ahead. Help us to understand that the door is open to all who live by faith, depending every step of the way on the leading or your spirit mediated to us so freely by our Lord, Jesus Christ. We pray that you may comfort us in our sorrow and give us imagination of heart enough to rejoice that another of your children has entered the larger life in the mansions of your kingdom. Amen.
V. SERVICE: At such a time as this we should derive much comfort in recalling some of the exceeding great and precious promises of the Good Book.
For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. Ps.91:11,12
And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph.3:l9
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Isa.40:29
I can do all things to him who strengthens me. Phil.4:13
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the Glory that is to be revealed to us. Rom.8:18
He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and translated us to the kingdom of his beloved Son. Col.l:13
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John14:27
I am the way, the truth, and the life. He who has seen me has seen the Father. Let not your hearts be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. John 14
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil.4:19
But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep; that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 1 Thess.4:13
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Cor.5:1
The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness. 2 Tim.4:6-8
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? 1 Cor.15:54,55
They desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. God has prepared for them a city. Heb.11 :16
In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? John 14:2
The dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Eccl.12:17
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth, that they may rest in their labors, for their deeds follow them. Rev.14:13
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. John 11:25,26
The Eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deut.33:27
We should draw renewed faith and courage from the faith and the courage shown by our departed friend. He should rejoice in the realization that another human soul is triumphing over death. We do, of course, sorrow among ourselves for his loss, but this sorrow is commingled with gladness that another of our brothers in the flesh has fought the good fight of faith with sincerity and by decision.
And so that our faith may be strengthened and our hearts comforted, we do well on this occasion to carry out this service of honor and remembrance.
John the Revelator saw a vision of the arrival of surviving mortals and he recorded: "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and those who had gained the victory over the beast that was originally in them and over the image that persisted, and finally over the last mark and trace, standing on the sea of glass, having the harps of God, and singing the song of deliverance from mortal fear and death.”
The confusion and turmoil of our world do not signify that God lacks either interest or ability to manage affairs differently. The Creators are possessed of full power to make this world a veritable Paradise, but such an Eden would not contribute to the development of those strong, noble, and experienced characters which the Gods are so surely forging out between the anvils of necessity and the hammers of anguish. Our anxieties and sorrows, our trials and disappointments, are just as much a part of the divine plan on this sphere as are the exquisite perfection and infinite adaptations of all things to their supreme purpose in heaven.
Through religious faith the soul of man reveals itself and demonstrates the potential divinity of its emerging nature by the characteristic manner in which it induces the mortal personality to react to certain trying intellectual and testing social situations. Genuine spiritual faith (true moral consciousness) is revealed, in that:
It causes ethics and morals to progress despite inherent and adverse animalistic tendencies.
It produces a sublime trust in the goodness of God even in the face of bitter disappointment and crushing defeat.
It generates profound courage and confidence despite normal adversity and physical calamity.
It exhibits inexplicable poise and sustaining tranquility notwithstanding baffling diseases and even acute physical suffering.
It maintains a mysterious poise and composure of personality in the face of maltreatment and the rankest injustice.
It maintains a divine trust in ultimate victory in spite of the cruelties of seemingly blind fate and the apparent utter indifference of natural forces to human welfare.
It persists in the unswerving belief in God despite all contrary demonstrations of logic and successfully withstands all other intellectual sophistries.
It continues to exhibit undaunted faith in the soul's survival regardless of the deceptive teachings of false science and the persuasive delusions of unsound philosophy.
It lives and triumphs irrespective of the crushing overload of the complex and partial civilizations of modern times.
It contributes to the continued survival of altruism in spite of human selfishness, social antagonisms, industrial greeds, and political maladjustments.
It steadfastly adheres to a sublime belief in universe unity and divine guidance regardless of the perplexing presence of evil and sin.
It goes right on worshiping God in spite of anything and everything. It dares to declare, "Even though he slay me, yet will I serve him."
And it is just such a vital and vigorous performance of faith in the domain of religion that entitles mortal man to affirm the personal possession and spiritual reality of that crowning endowment of human nature, religious experience.
One of the most amazing earmarks of religious living is that dynamic and sublime peace, that peace which passes all human understanding, that cosmic poise which betokens the absence of all doubt and turmoil. Such levels of spiritual stability are immune to disappointment. Such religionists are like the Apostle Paul, who said: “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else shall be able to separate us from the love of God."
We should ever remember: "There is in the mind of God a plan which embraces every creature of all his vast domains,
and this plan is an eternal purpose of boundless opportunity, unlimited progress, and endless life. And the infinite treasures of such a matchless career are yours for the striving!
"The goal of eternity is ahead! The adventure of divinity attainment lies before you! The race for perfection is on! Whosoever will may enter, and certain victory will crown the efforts of every human being who will run the race of faith and trust, depending every step of the way on the leading of God's spirit and on the guidance of that good spirit of Jesus, which so freely has been poured out upon all flesh.”
Having started out on the way of life everlasting, having accepted the assignment and received our orders to advance, we should not fear the dangers of human forgetfulness and mortal inconstancy, neither be troubled with doubts of failure or by perplexing confusion, neither falter and question our status and standing, for in every dark hour, at every crossroad in the forward struggle, the Spirit of Truth will always speak, saying: "This is the way."
We have begun an endless unfolding of an almost infinite panorama, a limitless expanding of neverending, everwidening spheres of opportunity for exhilarating service, matchless adventure, sublime uncertainty, and boundless attainment. When the clouds gather overhead, our faith should accept the fact of the presence of the Spirit of God, and thus we should be able to look beyond the mists of mortal uncertainty into the clear shining of the sun of eternal righteousness on the beckoning heights of the many mansions in our Father's house.
The consciousness of a victorious human life on earth is born of that creature faith which dares to challenge each recurring episode of existence when confronted with the awful spectacle of human limitations, by the unfailing declaration: Even if I cannot do this, there lives in me the spirit of one who can and will do it, a part of God --- the Father of universes. And that is the victory which overcomes the world, even our faith.
And now, in closing this service, we will do well to read again three passages of great beauty and truth.
The Gods are my caretakers; I shall not stray;
Side by side they lead me to the beautiful paths and glorious refreshing of life everlasting.
I shall not, in this Divine Presence, want for food nor thirst for water.
Though I go down into the valley of uncertainty or ascend up into the worlds of doubt,
Though I move in loneliness or with the fellows of my kind,
Though I triumph in the choirs of light or falter in the solitary places of the spheres,
Your good spirit shall minister to me, and your glorious angel will comfort me.
Though I descend into the depths of darkness and death itself,
I shall not doubt you nor fear you,
For I know that in the fullness of time and the glory of your name
You will raise me up to sit with you on the battlements on high.
Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come; your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our bread for tomorrow;
Refresh our souls with the water of life.
And forgive us everyone our debts
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
Save us in temptation, deliver us from evil,
And increasingly make us perfect like yourself.”
“God the Father loves men; God the Son serves men; God the Spirit inspires the children of the universe to the everascending adventure of finding God the Father by the ways ordained by God the Son through the ministry of the grace of God the Spirit.”