by Jack McLean
Providence has called us here together today to pay tribute and to befittingly remember a beautiful and noble soul, Majorie Eleanor Merrick. In our gathering here together today we are both mourning the loss and giving thanks for the life of this beautiful person who graced us all with her presence. We know that it will rejoice Majorie’s soul that we offer up our prayers for her continued progress and happiness as she reaps the bountiful reward of a rich earthly life.
Our first thoughts turn, of course, to Marjorie’s children and their spouses, to Dick and Patricia Merrick, to Diana and Don Dainty and to Majorie’s grand-children, Susan and Karen, Catherine and Eric, and to the nine great grand-children who were fortunate enough, even though still children, to have known and to have loved this fine person, their great grandmother. What a privilege! We hope that our presence here today and the offering of these prayers will be a comfort and a solace to all of you in your loss.
Later Don is going to give a befitting eulogy of Majorie’s life, but as we remember Majorie this morning, we think especially of that charming lady with the silver gray hair, a lady who was robed in a quiet dignity and grace, who had a gentle smile and gentle ways. And we remember too that subtle and understated sometimes witty sense of humour. And friends, it was so good to see Majorie smile and to hear her laugh.
We have come here today assured that Majorie’s long life was not a life that was wasted. We are assured by the promises of God in Holy Scripture of the bountiful reward of eternal life and salvation for Majorie. Majorie was, of course, a strong believer in God. We know that He was to her a constant presence and companion throughout her long life and her continued support and comfort in her hours of trial. How often did Majorie remember God in her daily prayers as she practiced the presence of God. And as we speak of prayer, we remember too the great reverence and humility of Majorie’s prayers, recited in that spiritual condition of supreme lowliness, humility and devotion, the spirit of love.
We are all honoured that Majorie was a Bahá’í, a luminous and devoted Bahá’í and it is significant that she recognized the truth of the Bahá’í Faith at a time when the Faith was not as well known as it is now, a testimony to that special insight of hers and to that gift of faith that enabled her to recognize so simply and so beautifully God’s truth as it is revealed to us in our age through Bahá’u’lláh. And friends, we have the assurance now, as we had then, that by being a Bahá’í and by recognizing and knowing and loving God and by accepting Bahá’u’lláh that she had truly fulfilled the purpose of this earthly life, and in that in so doing she had, as Bahá’u’lláh Himself has testified “attained unto all good.”
There is much food for thought and recollection in every death and in every passing, especially of a loved one. I am thinking this morning, as I have thought before at the time of the passing of one of my own, the truth of Bahá’u’lláh’s words: “The days of your life flee away as a breath of wind….” There is much in these words to make us pause for sober thought to consider what indeed is the supreme purpose of this life of ours that passes so quickly. But then Bahá’u’lláh goes on to say: “Happy the days that have been consecrated to the remembrance of God, and blessed the hours which have been spent in praise of Him Who is the All-Wise.” Friends! We know with a great assurance and we can be comforted that Majorie had many such moments during her long life.
I close these brief remarks with this quotation from Bahá’u’lláh: “And now concerning thy question regarding the soul of man and its survival after death. Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world, can alter. It will endure as long as the Kingdom of God, His sovereignty, His dominion and power will endure. It will manifest the signs of God and His attributes, and will reveal His loving kindness and bounty. The movement of My Pen is stilled when it attempteth to befittingly describe the loftiness and glory of so exalted a station.” (Gleanings, pages 155 156)