John Jones...Well Done Good and Faithful Servant

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Dear Abiding Savior Faith Family,

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14  But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.  14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

Greetings to you in the name of our risen savior, Jesus Christ!

I wanted to update on a few items regarding the death of John Jones, who served as our Sexton for 15 years and impacted our Abiding Savior community in many ways. 

ARRANGEMENTS:

John’s visitation will be Tuesday, October 2, from 4-7 at Reliable Funeral Home.  The address is 3958 Washington Blvd | St. Louis, MO 63108.

A Christian celebration of John’s life will be Wednesday, October 3 at 11 a.m. at Abiding Savior, with a visitation from 10-10:50.  Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery.

JOHN M. JONES MEMORIAL FUND:

A memorial fund has been setup with the purpose of helping John's daughter, Tonya, with the cost of the funeral and other expenses as she and her daughter, Peyton, settle into a new normal.  Checks should be made payable and sent to Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, 4355 Butler Hill Road, St. Louis, MO 63128.  Please mark "John Jones" in the memo section.  Aimee Kieffer, business manager, will ensure all monies are paid directly to Tonya and a list of donors is provided to her.  Your donation will be tax deductible, our tax ID is 43-1354067.  Your support is much appreciated.

SHARING MEMORIES:

If you or your child have a memory of John, I invite you to share it with me by e-mailing me at dmcburney@abidingsaviorlutheran.org.  Not only will it help me as I prepare for John’s funeral, but those memories will be compiled into a book to give to Tonya and Peyton.  If you want to share a memory of John, please do so by 4 p.m. on Monday, October 1. 

The above passage from 1 Thessalonians is one of my favorite passages.  It’s a reminder that not only do we have hope for eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, but we still mourn those we love when they die.  As our faith family mourn John’s death, we do so in hope and praise God for John’s faith in Jesus.  Thank you for keeping the Jones family and all who mourn John's death in your prayers.

The past three days have been very difficult for our faith family.  Many of you have shared that “John was family,” which is a perfect way to describe him.  He wasn’t just our custodian, or a coach, or a friend.  He was an important part of our faith family.

In addition to many adults processing our grief, we are also trying to help our children as they mourn.  I want to share a few things that I’ve learned over the years as a pastor, parent and child of God.

AS YOU GRIEVE:

·       Pray.  Share your feelings and thoughts with God.

·       You may have heard of the various stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.)  It’s important to remember that the length of time we spend in each stage varies per person.  In addition, it’s normal to return to a stage days or weeks later.   

·       Everyone grieves differently.  Thus, don’t compare yourself to others or even to how you handled a previous death.

·       Sharing stories with others who knew that person, as well as with close friends, can be very helpful.

·       Sometimes a death can bring up memories of another death.    

·       Taking care of yourself is very important, so remember to eat well, get rest and exercise.

 

AS YOU HELP YOUR CHILD GRIEVE:

·       First, you know your child better than anyone.  God will give you the proper words.

·       Let them guide you.  They’ll ask questions when they’re ready. 

·       Answer their questions in an age appropriate fashion.  Usually, shorter answers are better. 

·       Encourage them to share stories about John if they knew him. 

·       For some children, it will take time to realize the deceased is not coming back.  My Dad died when my oldest son, Keenan, was almost 4.  He started behaving in ways that were unusual for him almost a year after “Pa’s” death.  We eventual figured out that it took him that long to realize Pa wasn’t coming back.

·       One way you can help your child grieve is to be honest about your grief.  If you’re sad, tell them.  Share what’s helped you in the past when you grieve.

·       John’s granddaughter, Peyton, is a first-grader at Abiding Savior.  Many times children don’t know what to say to loved ones after a death (Adults struggle with this too!).  Encourage your child to be Peyton’s friend.  Writing her a note or drawing her a picture would be a great way to support her.

·       Encourage your child to pray.  If you don’t often pray with your child, this is a great opportunity.  Don’t worry about your words.  You will be teaching your child the importance of turning to God during difficult times.

RESOURCES:

Here’s a link to helping your child as they mourn:

https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/your-childs-emotions/how-to-help-your-child-grieve/how-to-help-your-child-grieve

In addition, I have two books that helped us when my Dad died: “Someone I Love Died” by Christine Harder Tanguald and “What Happens When We Die” by Carolyn Nystrom.  I have copies of these books that I will place in my mailbox outside my office. 

Finally, if I can be of help to you or your child, I am more than willing to pray with you.

In Christ’s hope,

Pastor David