On Friday, January 24th, 2020, I performed the memorial service for Rheta Jean Brumm. Rheta had attended Woodlawn as a child and moved away when she graduated from Highschool. She returned home to be married and then finally at the end of her 98 years she came back to Woodlawn to be buried alongside her family here in Lake City.
We were very honored to be able to assist the family in remembering and celebrating the life of their mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, cousin, and friend. Rheta lived a wonderfully long and productive life, she will be long remembered by those who she touched in her life and through them, she truly does live on. She left behind a great legacy in her family and loved ones... Praise be to God indeed...
May God bless and comfort you all and please...
Be a blessing to someone today!
Order of Service – Rheta Jean Brumm
Call to Worship:
Heavenly Father, You have assured us that through Your Son all shall have eternal life. Trusting in Your faithfulness and mercy, we await that glory filled day when You raise us all to life in triumph and we shall stand before Your throne. Standing there with all Your creation made new in Christ Jesus, basking in the glory of Your eternal Heavenly Kingdom.
Let us please pray...
Dear Lord, we acknowledge Your presence here and come before Your throne this afternoon as friends and family of Rheta Jean Brumm. We are here because we loved her, and now miss her, and we want to cherish our memories of her, we want to honor her life, to honor her God, and to support one another as we grieve her passing – a passing from life here with us to everlasting life there with you O Lord.
Dear God, we thank you for Rheta, You formed her, you knew her, you walked with her through 98 years, and even now we have confidence that she is in your presence.
We thank you that you are a God of mercy, who promises to comfort us, particularly when we lose our loved ones, and so in these moments now, and in the weeks and months ahead, please bring comfort and mercy to us as we remember, and share fondly all that Rheta was to us.
In the mighty and holy name of Jesus who is the Christ... we pray. Amen.
Special Music: Just As I Am
Let us hear now a Reading from the Old Testament:
Psalm 121 New King James Version (NKJV)
God the Help of Those Who Seek Him - A Song of Ascents.
121 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
Let us hear now a Reading from the New Testament:
1 Peter 1:3-9
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Let us please pray...
Dear Father of all mercies and God of all consolation, you pursue us with untiring love and dispel the shadow of death with the bright dawn of life. Give courage to this family in their loss and sorrow. Be their refuge and strength, O Lord, reassure them of your continuing love and lift them from the depths of grief into the peace and light of your presence.
Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, by dying has destroyed our death, and by rising, restored our life. Your Holy Spirit, our comforter, speaks for us in groans too deep for words. Come alongside your people, remind them of your eternal presence and give them your comfort and strength. Amen
Message: Pastor Roy Karlen – Woodlawn Christian Church
On January 5th, 2020, Rheta Jean Blanchfield Brumm, passed from this world that we all know and was born anew into the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior. Rheta lived to the wonderful age of 98, passing away in the State of California where she had resided since the age of 18. Rheta was born here in Lake City, Iowa on October 23, 1921, to Marion and Laura Blanchfield. Rheta was one of five children that blessed the Blanchfield family, her siblings were Verle, Arvil, Rhea, and Genova. Only Rhea now remains to share with her family all the happy memories that the five of them created growing up on the farm here in Iowa. Rheta always cherished having been a farm-girl from Iowa and it was her desire to return to the State of Iowa in order to be laid to rest alongside her beloved family.
Growing up Rheta had long dreamed of living in California and after her High School Graduation, she moved west to Southern California. There she lived in Glendale, California and she very quickly met William Brumm while taking dancing lessons at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. They fell in love and they were married in February of 1941, less than two years after Rheta had moved to California and her at the tender young age of 19.
Rheta had insisted on returning to Lake City to be married and she and William were married right here in this Sanctuary. Last night I took Shiara and Virdette on a tour of this old church building and you could see the raw emotion in their eyes as they stood here in this sanctuary where their mother grew up learning to love God... something that she did her whole lifelong... here where she was baptized, where she married their father, and now today where we recognize and honor her life. A life lived primarily so far away from Lake City, Iowa but that was rooted so firmly here... in the rich soil of what was for her always home. Today we return her to the rich soil of Iowa where her earthly remains will rest beside her family awaiting the call that will signal the return of Christ and her resurrection. It's often been said that you can take the girl out of Iowa but you can't take Iowa out of the girl...
After their wedding, William and Rheta first lived in Glendale, California and then later they moved to Van Nuys, where their family grew from two to four after the births of Melanie and Shiara. Next, the young family moved to Sherman Oaks where they welcomed Virdette to their happy clan.
As simple as all of this moving and children being born sounds to us now, we cannot forget that just ten months after Rheta was married, the United States entered World War II. All that went on certainly wasn't simple and it most certainly was frightening and anxious for a young couple just starting out in life...
Much like the iconic poster and song about “Rosie the Riveter”, Rheta went to work during World War II working in the manufacture of aircraft for the War. She alongside many other brave and determine women worked tirelessly to aid the war effort and to assist those who were overseas fighting. Her husband William served in the Army during the War and Rheta did her part to contribute and there is no doubt that those efforts helped to ultimately shorten the war and curtail the horrors that raged in Europe at the time.
After the War Rheta set about raising her family and they attended Central Christian Church in Van Nuys. She remained a devoted member of the church for many years. Once her daughters were raised and had moved on with their lives, Rheta started what was to be a very successful career in real estate sales in Southern California. She enjoyed her work and spent twenty-five years selling properties and helping others obtain their dreams.
Rheta spent many years enjoying her home and garden located in Highland and later on she met the second love of her life, Arno Heckrodt. After retiring from real estate, Rheta and Arno moved to Carmel in 2003. In Carmel, Rheta started attending the Presbyterian Church, she became a very devoted member and was a constant volunteer for church activities. Rheta even went on a mission trip to Brazil, which given her age at that time was a major concern to her daughters. But, the minister assured them that Rheta would be well looked after and away she went... we should all be so active in our 80's... God willing. What an inspiring story of an amazing lady.
I am told that Rheta had a genuine 'zest' for life which always made her shine through. Her glass was never half empty or half full... it was always full to the brim. She was hard-working, diligent to the task at hand, responsible, always happy... always enjoying life and having fun. She always looked at the bright side of every situation. Truly an example we should all strive to obtain. Rheta loved to volunteer, she adored birds and owned many throughout her life, she enjoyed watching basketball and football, and she enjoyed discussing politics. She always loved corn and popcorn from her home state and retained her hard-working Iowa farm girl ways for her entire life. Rheta had a wonderful life-giving and contagious laugh and an outgoing and friendly personality... she enjoyed life and she will be deeply missed by all those who knew and loved her.
In a few moments, we will have time for any who wish to share memories and thoughts concerning Rheta, so I will move on from eulogizing her long and loving life and focus upon her love for her God. A love that I am most certain she shared with each of you.
I am told that Rheta like many of us took great solace in the words in John 3:16. Let us hear now the verses found in John 3:12-21.
John 3:12-21 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18 He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.
I am told that Rheta firmly believed that all that she had received was a gift from God. Let me repeat that last verse... verse 21: But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.
It is often said that the only Bible many will ever read is our lives. How we live our lives is a witness to everyone that we encounter in our lives:
Hebrews 12:1-3 New International Version (NIV)
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Let us honor Rheta by remembering always that we are called to be among that cloud of witnesses. Witnessing to the love of Christ that we are taught in the Gospels. In closing please allow me to share with you all my personal favorite scripture. Found in the Johannine epistle known as 2nd John. Here the Elder of the Johannine Community is writing to the entire Church. Where he says ”dear lady” he is referencing the entire body of believers and not just one individual. The book of 2nd John is only one chapter long so there is no chapter reference only the verses:
2 John: verses 5-6 New Century Version (NCV)
5 And now, dear lady, this is not a new command but is the same command we have had from the beginning. I ask you that we all love each other. 6 And love means living the way God commanded us to live. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is this: Live a life of love.
Walking with Jesus is really no more complicated than these two short verses. I've often called this the Bible in two verses. Walking and witnessing for God is simply loving each other, loving God's Creation, and first and foremost loving God. From what I have learned about Rheta it sounds that she truly lived up to this commandment repeated to us by the Elder... “live a life of love.”
Praise be to God for the life of love that Rheta lived. Praise God indeed...
The family has asked for time to share memories and contemplation's with you all. At this time I would like to call two of Rheta's daughters to come to the pulpit. First Virdette Laura Brumm, then Shiara Kirsch, and then we will welcome all who would like to speak to please either stand and speak or to come forward to the microphone. Please if you chose to speak from the pew remember to speak loudly enough for all to hear... please come now and share...
Thank you all for sharing your most heartfelt memories and emotions. Let us please now listen to the timeless and always reassuring words of “Amazing Grace”.
Special Music: Amazing Grace
Final Instructions and Closing Prayer:
Immediately following the service we will proceed to the Lake City Cemetery for the internment. Following the graveside service, there will be a time of gathering and reminiscing out on the family farm north of Lake City. The family invites you all to come and share this additional time of celebrating Rheta's life.
Let us please pray:
O God, our Strength, and our Redeemer, Giver of life, and Conqueror of death, we open our hearts to you just as we are. We celebrate your gift of life freely given but are grieved by a sense of loss in the face of death. The love which binds us to one another leaves us aching as ties are broken. Accept our tears as emblems of devotion, and transform them into waters of life to nourish us in the days ahead.
We trust you. We love you. We know in Christ that your love is everlasting. Nothing can separate any of us from your abiding care. With you is eternal life.
With confidence, we now entrust Rheta to your unfailing love and overflowing goodness. Through the power that raised Christ from the dead to live eternally with you, lift up this, your servant, to life fulfilled beyond our imagining. We give you but your own, enfold her in your everlasting arms, hold her for she is your child.
Now strengthen us, through the gift of your Spirit, to face into the future with confidence that you stand with us. Grant that the changes of life may leave us stronger as we journey through life.
Reassured of your abiding presence, help us to knit more firmly the ties that bind us one to another. Renewed by your love, help us to love in ever-larger circles so as to embrace your people everywhere till at last we are all united eternally through Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Selfishly, we as mortals wish to hold on to Rheta. It brings great pain to let her go. Living in the resurrection hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the trust of a loving God and in the promise of eternal life, we now commit her body to its place of rest. We will continue to mourn Rheta, but now her smile and laughter will warm the kingdom of God. We will continue to love Rheta, but God will now take care of her. We will continue to carry Rheta in our thoughts, but she will be kept safe in God's hands. Receive her in the arms of your mercy, O God, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of all your saints.
Let us hear now these words taken from the 14th Chapter of the Gospel of John
Hear these words from Jesus:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If it were not so,
Would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and will take you to myself,
So that where I am, there you may be also.
And you know the way to the place where I am going.
I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
But you will see me;
Because I live, you also will live.
I have said these things to you while I am still with you.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
Whom the Father will send in my name,
Will teach you everything,
And remind you of all that I have said to you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
(John 14:1–4, 18–19, 25–27)
Let us hear now these words given to us by the Apostle Paul concerning the promise of the resurrection and the life everlasting:
1 Corinthians 15: 35-44
35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
Believing in the Resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we now entrust Rheta to the care of Almighty God and we ask Our Father to open the doors to his mansion and lead Rheta to the room made ready just for her. As we now commit her body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we commend her spirit to its new home. Rest eternal grant her, and let light perpetual shine upon her.
God has blessed and enriched our lives in giving us Rheta to know and love here on this earth. Though our time together was not nearly enough, in committing her body to the earth, we give over to God the care of her spirit, and we acknowledge that we will one day reunite with her in God's Kingdom. The Lord bless her and keep her; the Lord make his face shine upon her and be gracious onto her; the Lord look upon her with favor and give her peace.
Let us now pray together the prayer that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ taught us to pray... Our Father...
This concludes our graveside service.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, may His strong arms encircle you and uphold you in your hour of grief. God's peace and strength to you all. Amen