Sunday, February 25, 2007

A prayer in celebration of Rev. Earl Kernahan

O Gracious God, God of Comfort and Unending Love,

We come today with hearts filled with both gladness and sorrow to joyously celebrate the life of Earl Kernahan.

We pray that your loving Holy Spirit will provide all who mourn with comfort in their time of grief.

We thank you for the beauty of the love we have known through Earl in friendship and in family and in fellowship. A love we know is from you.

We celebrate a man who could recite Shakespeare to his wife while driving on vacation and who could surprise an entire Christmas Eve congregation by reciting from the Gospel of John in Greek.

We celebrate a man who loved poetry and politics.

A man who loved the Gospel and those who live it.

A man who made his love known and clear to each person in his family and in his life.

We celebrate, too, the life and memory of Betty Kernahan, and we celebrate the love she and Earl shared.

We celebrate their children Karen, Carol, Candy, and Colleen.

We celebrate all of Earl’s family, especially Jace who made Earl great.

We pray now for some of the greatest concerns of Earl’s life and ministry.

We pray for greater awareness of our own racism, sexism and other prejudices. And we pray for an end to all prejudice. Help us to know as Earl did that all of your children are precious to you.

We pray for freedom for all people – freedom from war, freedom from poverty, freedom from addiction, freedom from anxiety.

We pray, too, that our places of worship can be open to all -- as Earl opened wider the doors of churches in Chula Vista and Honolulu.

We pray for the empty chair Earl leaves in this congregation and the empty vestments he leaves in this conference. We pray with confidence that you will send many others to follow in his path.

Help us always to remember, dear God, the scripture from first John that Earl knew by heart: Theos ein agape God is love.

We celebrate the time we had with Earl as he moved, in his own words, slowly, very slowly on to perfection.

We rejoice too, dear God, that Earl has now moved on to perfection, but for those of us who remain it was not nearly slowly enough.

Join us together in that one great fellowship of love as we, too, press on to perfection, perfection in love, perfection in you.

O God, who gave us birth,
Help us to live as those who are prepared to die
And when our days here are accomplished,
enable us to die as those who go forth to live,
so that living or dying, our life may be in you.
and that nothing in life or in death
will be able to separate us
from your great love. (UM Book of Worship)

We pray this in thanksgiving for the grace that comes to us through Jesus, the love we know from you, O God, and the abiding comfort of the Holy Spirit. Amen.