But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13
My daughter Karen died at the young age of fifty-five from that dreaded disease, Cancer. She fought a valiant fight for nearly two years after finding she had stage four breast cancer that had metastasized in her lungs. She fought harder when it moved into her brain, and though she seemed to be winning, the lung cancer was relentless and she lost her earthly fight on February 16, 2015.
However, she won the most important struggle that we all face, which is spiritual. Our choosing between Jesus or Satan the god of this world is the most important choice we can make. Years ago Karen chose Jesus which means she is resting with Him now as well as with her earthly father whom she dearly loved.
Among her many gifts, my daughter was a talented Sculptress who sculpted in hard and soft stone, such as marble or soapstone. She did the sculpture attached to this article and named it… Symphony In The Sea. She would look at a piece of rock, see the image within before chiseling away the dross, and at that point the rest of us could see what God had shown her all along. You can see her beautiful creations on her website – stonesculptor.simcoeartists.com, or at [email protected].
Karen made friends so easily with her caring ways and love for others. Her funeral brought many from long distances in North America, as well as comforting notes from those who were unable to attend and from around the world.
For those who could not make it to the funeral, as well as for those that did but may want to remember the service, I have attached all that occurred during the service below. I was not able to include the wonderful hymns nor the song sung by my grandsons, Christopher and Matthew. However, the words to their song is written at the end of my son Robert’s eulogy for Karen.
Pastor Don Brubacher’s sermon is in his note form, but it is so easily understood that I have included it here as well. It was so appropriate with a comparison to Karen’s stone sculpting and Jesus the Living Stone.
May you be mightily blessed as you read about Karen’s life here on earth, and where she is residing now.
THE LIVING STONE
Karen Brodie Funeral, Feb.21/15 in Orillia, Ontario.
by Pastor Don Brubacher
Intro visual: Karen’s gift to us of a stone carving (dated 2011, I think given in appreciation after I took her father’s funeral).
Read a bit of the attached card. Karen was a sculptor’s sculptor!
Since 2004, her life devoted to creating beautiful things out of stone.
Reminded me about God – truly is the ultimate Sculptor’s Sculptor!
Read 1Peter 2:4-8 “stone” referred to nine times, most often about Jesus
Three Main things God says about Jesus as a stone
1A. Jesus is the Living Stone v.4
1b. Chosen by God and Precious – hand-picked for a special purpose, worked on with tender care, valuable, held in high esteem like this special stone chosen by Karen for our sculpture.
2b. Nothing is accidental about the Person and ministry of Jesus – read the Bible from cover to cover – points to Jesus, God’s One and only Son – sent to be the Saviour of the world.
3b. At his birth, the angels sang his infinite worth. At his baptism – God spoke from heaven – This is my Beloved Son, listen to him. When crucified the sun hid its face for three hours. At his resurrection – there was a mighty earthquake – the rocks were torn, as God’s chosen precious stone came out of the grave very much alive. The great stone rolled against the door of the tomb had to move aside for God’s Living Stone to come out and provide salvation life to the world. Such an event is without parallel in history.
If history is the art exhibit of God, Jesus is His pre-eminent work of sculpture, with this title inscribed for all to read… “The Living Stone” … my gift of love to you.
2A. Jesus is the Trustworthy Stone v. 6, 7a
1b. A worthy place for confidence v.6 the one who trust in Him will never be put to shame
God is not uneasy about his magnum opus work of art the Living Stone, who He offers as a gift to the world. Put him to comparison, and Jesus easily rises to the top. He is the best.
His history, entirely supernatural. His character, flawless. His compassion, astounding. His teaching, profound. His Deity, undeniable. His personality, magnetic. His love, all-embracing. His saving grace, life-transforming.
Those who love and follow Him, never find his love false or his leading wrong.
Even through the valley of the shadow of death, He is there, our Saviour God, who said, “I am the Good Shepherd, and I lay down my life for the sheep. My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me, and I give them eternal life and they will never perish, neither shall anyone pluck them out of my hand.” John 10:11, 27,28
His followers may let you down, but Jesus never will.
2b. To you who believe, this Stone is precious.
Trust is required. Simple child-like faith which looks to Jesus and sees God’s Living Stone carved into something incomparable beautiful.
Jesus who said “Come unto me and I will give you rest”, who blessed the little children, and forgave sinners, and rebuked the self-righteous religious leaders.
Jesus who wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus, and said to his broken hearted sister Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even if he dies.”
To those who believe, Jesus is indeed God’s precious cornerstone. Not merely a religion or a philosophy or a great moral teacher, but a Person whose coming changed the world… and changed Karen, and changed me, and all who invite Him into their heart and life.
3A. Jesus can be a Stumbling Stone v.7,8
1b. Some believe and others didn’t. This text recognizes both groups of people will exist.
2b. It was true in Jesus day. God’s chosen precious Stone was rejected by his own people. The stone the builders rejected. Too ordinary, born in Nazareth, ate with sinners, preached to love our enemies, scorned the hypocrisy of the religious leaders who scrupulously prayed on the street corner by day and plotted to murder him by night. “You hypocrites” he boldly accused. “Bring forth the fruit of repentance.” For them, Jesus became a stumbling stone. They rejected God’s one and only Stone for those of their own fabrication. And paid a bitter price.
3c. The same choice is true in our day.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world… What a gift!
He was precious to God! Please don’t let him be a stumbling stone to you!
To believe or not to believe, that is the question!
Of believers (real Christians), Peter writes v.5
As you come to Him, Jesus, you too like living stones are being built into a spiritual house – called his church. Karen, me, other believers here and around the world, not perfect, but living stones precious to God. The Divine sculptor is busy with hammer and chisel making something beautiful of us, and Jesus is the cornerstone!
God is now finished sculpting Karen, and she is at home with the Lord, beautifully polished and perfect, part of the eternal temple of God. And the angels look on with wonder.
Jesus is God’s Living Stone. To believe or not to believe, that is the question!
Read by Karen’s son – Nicholas Brodie/Tsotsos
Psalm 34:1 to 10
I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
SO MANY REASONS TO LOVE THE LORD
by Helen Steiner Rice
Read by Sybil Brodie
Thank you, God, for little things
that come unexpectedly
To brighten up a dreary day
that dawned so dismally.
Thank You, God, for sending a
happy thought my way
To blot out my depression
on a disappointing day.
Thank You, God, for brushing
the dark clouds from my mind
And leaving only sunshine
and joy of heart behind.
Oh God, the list is endless
of the things to thank You for,
But I take them all for granted
and unconsciously ignore
That everything I think or do,
each movement that I make,
Each measured, rhythmic heartbeat,
each breath of life I take
Is something You have given me
for which there is no way
For me in all my smallness
to in any way repay.
KAREN’S EULOGY – by Robert Brodie
As we come together to celebrate Karen’s life, words come to my mind that embody who Karen was: She was a teacher; a mother; a sculptress; and a very astute, business woman of commerce. Descriptive words come to mind like determined; intelligent; creative; strong; and authentic. I’m sure that you can all easily add some more of your own words of praise to my incomplete list.
Karen as a Person.
Wherever she went she made an impression on people’s lives. Not surprisingly people from all over the world have been paying their respects. Such places like Holland ,Germany, the United States and of course Canada. You probably can think of even more places that I missed.
If you knew Karen for any length of time, you would find out that she loved God and she would let you know that she was a Christian. There was nothing threatening about this news. She loved you as a person and she just wanted to share her love with you.
Karen as a Sculptress
She created original, detailed, finely crafted art carved out of hard stone. In many ways this is Karen. Take the hardest stuff you know and by brute force I’ll grind out the parts that aren’t needed. In the end you will see what I saw buried inside the rock. Can you see it, crying to come out? When she was done… you said … of course … yes… I finally see what you saw, long before you started.
Her carvings did not need to be just confined to reality, her imagination new no such boundaries. She saw Monophants, Head out of the Sand and Dream Spirit as well as the very real creatures – Politicians, Midnight moves and one of my favourites, “Herbman”
Karen as a Teacher
She had her fathers giftedness for teaching. All that attended her classes were pulled into her passion. They felt her excitement, her drive, her energy. They looked on in awe as she could stare into any rock, and find the image within. Everyone caught the excitement. Sure they learned how to carve, but more than that, they wanted to return again and again to re-experience the energy and the creativity of Karen. Perhaps some were thinking… maybe it would rub off on me!
Karen as a Mother
With her first husband Karen and Lou created 2 beautiful children Lisa and Nicholas. Karen deeply loved her children and wanted only the best for them. Often during hard times, she herself would go without in order to provide for her children. It is this selfless love that builds up our next generation of adults that know what it means to love others.
Karen as a Wife
In all of the struggles of Karen’s life and all the time I have known her, it was plain to see that the best and fullest time of her life was the time she spent with Jim as they journeyed together living out her artistic dream. From the very beginning, when sculpting was just an idea, Jim with all of his love, wholeheartedly supported and encouraged Karen. This allowed her to be free. She could pour out all of her energy on a gift that I believe was given to her by God Himself. In turn she honoured God by living out His gift to her. How many of us get to do this? Karen was such a person and you and I are witnesses to the beauty that she created.
I would like to close with a few words from a song written by Jeremy Camp. It will be like one artist to another. Matthew, my son, sent these lyrics to me. Matthew informed me that this song writer lost his wife to ovarian cancer only 1 year after he was married. I think that the words fit for the loss of our beloved Karen.
Normally you have the chorus mixed between each verse, but I will read the verses, and then end with reading the chorus.
Robert’s sons Matthew and Christopher Brodie sang this beautifully while Chris accompanied with his guitar.
I Still Believe – by Jeremy Camp
Scattered words and empty thoughts
seem to pour from my heart
I’ve never felt so torn before
seems I don’t know where to start
but it’s now that I feel Your grace falls like rain
from every fingertip, washing away my pain
Though the questions still fog up my mind
with promises I still seem to bear
even when answers slowly unwind
it’s my heart I see You prepare
but its now that I feel Your grace fall like rain
from every finger tip, washing away my pain
The only place I can go is into your arms
where I throw to you my feeble prayers
in brokenness I can see that this was your will for me
Help me to know You are near
Lastly is the chorus
Karen, I will read these words to you, but I know that you would sing these words to Jesus too.
I still believe in Your faithfulness
I still believe in Your truth
I still believe in Your holy word
even when I don’t see, I still believe