What do you say at the funeral of two brothers, ages 7 and 8, killed in a car crash that left their father charged with vehicular homicide and DUI?
The Rev. Frank Patterson provided an excellent example when he conducted the Aug. 28 funeral for John and Richard Farrell, who died Aug. 22 in a single-vehicle crash in Harris County.
The 300-seat Edgewood Hall at Striffler-Hamby Mortuary in Columbus was packed with family, friends and those who knew the Farrells through Reese Road Leadership Academy, where the brothers attended.
The main message from Patterson, former pastor of the Church of the Holy Family, was that these deaths are “beyond our understanding, but somehow we know the Lord is with us.”
As he led a prayer, Patterson said, “Richard and John are now with You. This is the joy. Help us understand that.”
Turning to God will help, Patterson offered.
“We need the Lord’s presence today,” he said. “... The first thing we notice is how young they were. They lived such a short life, but there was so much joy, there was so much happiness in them, and they were able to give it back to friends and to the family. … They had so much yet to give, but we must concentrate on what they gave us in their short life.”
Questions aren’t a sign of lacking faith, Patterson suggested.
“As we struggle, we must know in our faith that the Lord will give us His peace,” he said. “The Lord will give us His compassion. The Lord will give us a shoulder to cry on. The Lord will give us hope in times of darkness, in times of despair and of grief.”
Patterson was the only person who spoke during the service, but other voices expressed proper sentiment. Recordings of four popular songs were played: “When I Look at You” by Miley Cyrus, “Go Rest High on that Mountain” by Vince Gill, “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton and “Hallelujah,” the Leonard Cohen song performed by Bon Jovi.
In the Gill song, the chorus echoed Patterson’s message:
“Go rest high on that mountain
Son, your work on earth is done.
Go to heaven a-shoutin'
Love for the Father and the Son.”