Friday, 19 July 2013

A funeral address for John Seago

John Seago, 1926 - 2013


We have come to give to thanks to God and to honour an extraordinary, passionate and loving man.

I had heard some of the stories, but listening to Tim’s eulogy made me astonished me at what John had come through, and what had shaped his life. It is the stuff that films are made of.

John would have profoundly approved of the reading – the language and the message.

1. It speaks of Jesus:
And John loved Jesus – or ‘Christ’ as he would call him – although I have to confess that I never quite understood all his speculative theology. 
He loved the stories about Jesus, the teaching of Jesus, the work of Jesus, the cross of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus.
And he did say to me a couple of years ago, and it was one of those quotes that I just wish I had written down, that when he died he longed to be with Jesus

2. It speaks of transformation:
Paul writes here about the resurrection body.
He says, ‘Some people ask, ‘With what kind of body will people be raised?’ And he replies, ‘You fool. You can’t ask that question. Can an acorn buried deep in the ground begin to imagine what it will be like to be an oak tree? Can a baby in a foetus imagine what it will be like to be a grown adult? Of course not. So how can we, who are so bound here begin to imagine how God will transform us.

But Paul goes on to say that whatever form the resurrection body takes, it will be transformed and it will be glorious.

John knew about transformation
He created objects of beauty out of precious materials – some of you may be wearing those objects of beauty today.
And his work is a parable of the work of God in John’s life
- Because God will take any one of us, if we allow him, and begin to transform us on the inside.
He takes what is precious (and each person is worth infinitely more than any lump of gold) – and he passes it through the fire – in order to create something of amazing beauty.

And John knew his weaknesses. At times he could be very frank. But he also knew the forgiveness of Jesus and the power of God to transform.

It is very fitting that one of his works that we have here in church is the baptismal shell. It is used at that moment in a child or adult’s life when they are united to the church, when they are symbolically washed and rebirthed into a new and living hope.

3. The passage speaks of resurrection.
‘We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.’

That is our hope.

Dear Gilly, resurrection is something that is so important to both John and yourself.

So today we entrust John, this precious raw gold who God has transformed, through the fires of life and death, into someone of incredible beauty.

The bible tells us that as we look on Jesus, we will be transformed into his likeness. And when we die we will see him face to face. And then we will become fully like him.


So Allan, Tim, Charlotte and especially Gilly, today is a desperately painful day, but it is not a day of despair. Our certain hope is this: that you will see John again. Not as he was, but as he has become. And you will be astounded. For you will see him standing with his Jesus, a full child of God, transparent, beautiful, radiant and glorious. 

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