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In memory of James Smylie

Funeral James Smylie Medium Web view

Charles Dickens wrote many great classics, among them Oliver Twist and David Copperfield. He also wrote a Tale of Two Cities, the opening lines of which read:

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

It was the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness,

It was the season of light, it was the the season of darkness,

it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”.

The prophet Isaiah wrote something similar:

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, upon those who dwelt in a land of gloom, a great light has shone. You Have brought them abundant joy – for a child is born to us, a son is given to us –

There is, as the scriptures remind us today, a time for every season under heaven. As we gather in Loughbrickland church, we reflect on the mystery of time and providence that are in God’s hands: there is indeed a time to die, a time to keep silence, a time to speak, a time to love.

Since the sudden passing of Jim you have all shared memories of him in many respects – his talents, achievements and interests.

Jim was born in Annaclone in 1934, son of William and Kathleen. One of 5 children, 2 boys and three girls. He attended primary school in Loughbrickland.

Jim met Phyllis in Banbridge and they married in St. Patrick’s Church Banbridge on 15th April 1968. They set up home in Lisnagade before moving to their present home.

He was a farmer and kept cattle. He suffered ill health over the last few years and died suddenly on Wednesday morning.

We gather today as a Christian community and our presence here today is our way of reaching out to all of you who loved him and will miss him and to you we extend our sympathy.

We can look on this sudden death in many ways:

A dark cloud, a moment of intense loneliness, and an experience we resist and don’t wish to speak about. You will all deal with it in your own individual way but can you see it as part of the outstretched hand of God’s support or the light beyond the cloud that is dark; or the companionship of Christ in this fearful moment of loneliness? Our faith tells us that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Like St. Paul we carry our faith in earthen vessels and death can either shatter or deepen our faith.

To be a Christian is to be a pilgrim on a spiritual journey. To be a pilgrim is to go along the way of faith, hope and love. The goal is certain – eternal life in Christ Jesus. But the way is often uncertain and at times we can lose our sense of direction and we forget how to live.

This is a time of sadness. We are sad today because we are gathered to mourn Jim and say our final farewell. We are here today to console you in your sadness by our presence, our prayers and our words of consolation.

This is a time for asking forgiveness.

It is right to ask God, our loving and forgiving Father to extend to Jim his forgiveness. We are assured by our faith that God forgives always, totally and immediately.

And finally it is a time of hope.

Our faith tells us that at death life is changed, not ended. We are then filled with hope that Jim is now at peace. We are confident in this hope that God has taken him to himself.

May Mary the mother of God who buried her own son be with us to see the mind and the plan of God in our lives at this time.

We offer our sympathy to his wife, Phyllis, his brother Patrick and his sisters Pauline and Mary

May he rest in peace. Amen.


Prayer of the Faithful         

Priest: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life. Therefore, let us pray to him with confidence.

Response:     Lord, graciously hear us.

1.As death surprised James with its suddenness, may God now surprise him with his kindness and mercy and blot out any sins he committed through human weakness.

  Lord hear us.   Lord, graciously hear us. 

2.  That we may let James go with love and trust into the hands of God.

  Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

3.  That God may reward James for all the love that he shared.

  Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

4.  For those who mourn for James, especially his wife Phyllis, brother Patrick,   and sisters Pauline and Mary. We pray that God may visit them with comfort   and peace.

  Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

5.  We remember those who have died, especially his parents William and   Kathleen, his   sister Patricia and sister-in-law Eileen. May they and all our departed   relatives and friends   be freed from every shadow of death, and take their place in   the new creation.

  Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

6.  We now have an opportunity to make our own prayer (pause).

  Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

Priest:   O God, you made us for yourself, and our hearts will never rest until they rest

in you. Grant that amidst the uncertainties of this changing world, our hearts may be

set on our eternal home where true joys are to be found.

We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.




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