Grandma Wrenn's Funeral Service
Congregational Hymn – Angel Band
Scripture: Proverbs 31:10-31
Congregational Hymn – In the Garden
Reading: Crossing the Bar- Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
Eulogy for Carrie Arrington Wrenn
May 9, 2017
Frank T. Wrenn, III
Today we celebrate the life of Carrie Arrington. Over her 94 years, she was many things to many people. She was a sister, a devoted wife, a mother to F.T., Johnny, and Brenda, a grandmother of six, and great-grandmother of twelve. She was an aunt to many nieces and nephews. She was a grade-mother to her children’s classmates, a long-time Sunday teacher, and for so, so many, a friend.
The verses from Proverbs Pastor Lee read describe a virtuous woman. Someone told me yesterday, if everyone could be the example she lived, we’d all be all right. Over the past few days, I have heard from people near and far who have shared their condolences. While she meant many things to many people, invariably the same words seem to come up to describe her:
I would add a few others:
She was Strong and she was Tough. – One of eight children, she helped raise her younger siblings while her mother and father worked in the cotton mill. She later raised her own kids while my grandfather was often away on job sites. Last night, in her kitchen, I found a bookmark that said “Carrie” – meaning “strong Character.” It also quoted a couple of Proverbs: A woman who reverences God shall be praised.” And Proverbs 22: 1: A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” From all that I spoke to last night, I think she achieved that.
Yes, she was strong. As my sister said yesterday, she was soft-spoken, but she spoke her mind.
She was Wise in that way that would put things in perspective. “All that glitters isn’t gold,” she once said, then added, “and that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
She was devoted. She was devoted to her family, to her friends, and to her church. Yesterday, going through her Bible, I saw that she had underlined a passage in Ruth 1: 16-17: “Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God, my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.”
Yes, this church did become her church. She served it well, teaching Sunday School for the Open Door class for many years, and also, playing instrumental roles in leading with the other women of the church. Years ago when a storm blew open the front doors and water entered, the women decided to use the money they’d raised to buy a new carpet go down the center aisle to instead start the fund for what would become the new vestibule.
Of course, her devotion to my Grandfather, and his to her, was palpable. Their love was strong. They were together for seventy years. When he departed this earth, I don’t think she was ever quite the same. I know she missed him every day. Yet she remained devoted to the church she loved, to its people, to her family, and to her community. But she also remained true to the promise “where you will die, I will die, and there I will be buried,” careful to see that even her burial urn would match his.
She liked to keep things simple. She liked her flowers, gardening, coffee in the morning, talking with friends and family, cooking, and watching the birds outside her kitchen. She was Practical. She was not ‘showy.’ I am sure I’ve already probably spoken for longer than she would want me to go on. She was even practical in the planning of this service. She wanted it to end with Jerry playing “Marching to Zion” so that people would be peppy and fast leaving the church.
Her faith, like her, was practical and earnest. She lived her faith by example, quiet yet certain. She loved her Lord in a way that was obvious to all around her, sure in her salvation and sure in her belief that she would once again join my Grandfather in Heaven.
One of today’s congregational hymns “Angel Band” was also one she requested: It says:
I’ve almost gained my Heavenly home, my spirit loudly sings
The Holy ones, behold they come, I hear the noise of wings
O bear my longing heart to Him who bled & died for me
Whose blood now cleanses from all sin and gives me victory
You see, while today we are sad, and we mourn our sister, friend, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, or neighbor ---- she, steadfast in her faith, was ready.
She told me “It’s good to get old, but it’s not good to be old.” She marveled at her long life, not understanding why she had been allowed to be here for so long, but trusting in God’s plan.
Through her faith in Christ Jesus, my grandmother was not afraid to leave this temporary home. She believed in our Lord’s promise that in his father’s house are many mansions, and that he has prepared a place for us there and will welcome us there into his presence.
Even in that, she continues to teach us and lead by example.
Revelation 21 says:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and the sea was gone. I also saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.
My Grandma was ready for this New Jerusalem, where the Bible says every tear is wiped away, where there is no grief, crying, or pain. She now sees her pilot face to face, now that she has “crost the bar.”
So today, when we leave this church to the tune of Marching to Zion, peppy and fast like my grandma wanted, remember its words:
our songs abound,
And every tear be dry;
We’re marching through Immanuel’s ground
To fairer worlds on high --- AMEN.
Congregational Hymn – God Be with Us Til We Meet Again
Congregational Hymn – (1st Verse) We’re Marching to Zion