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NEED TITLE (Pat Mesic Funeral)

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Scripture Reading (John 11:17-27)—Randy Shepley
In Christ Alone
Scripture Reading (Isaiah 40:1-8)—Ryan Lang
Scripture Reading (Romans 8:18, 31-39)—Courtney Sando


Patricia Young Mesic was born in 1931 during the beginning of the not-so-great depression. She was the oldest sister of ten children, and times were tough. But Pat was upbeat when she recalled her youth, like the weekends with her little sister Marie at her grandmother’s farm on Back Bay road with its fresh churned butter and delicious cakes and pies.
Pat was a child of her time. She’d sometimes skip piano lessons to read comics at the corner shop, even though it was a time when kids couldn’t get away with anything because the neighbors on Brick Row would see you and tattle. Pat reminisced about everything from watching The Wizard of Oz at the theater with her sister Carol, to the church bells tolling on Pearl Harbor Day as people solemnly walked to church to mourn and worship.
When Pat was 15 years old, just five days before Christmas, her father died unexpectedly. So from an early age Pat experienced sadness and loss. But Pat didn’t allow her loss to lead to a sense of entitlement. She quickly rolled up her sleeves and went to work to help make ends meet.
She was a hard worker. As a teenager she worked at a confectionery, a soda shop, and Levy’s dress shop, to name a few. Somehow she was able to maintain these jobs without neglecting her studies. She was an honor student excelling in Latin and Drama. She was a student director, involved in student government and journalism, and was a cheerleader for the Typhoons of Newport News High School.
After high school, college was not an option but Pat continued to work hard. She became a secretary at the VA to the chaplains, which included a rabbi, a Methodist, and a priest. If we could only add a Baptist to the mix we’d have the makings of a good bar joke.
Pat was so nervous at the job interview that she reached over and took a sip of the minister’s coffee cup.
But they hired her anyway.
Pat’s favorite job was her job as a medical secretary at Penn Orthopedics, which grew from one doctor to seven during Pat’s forty years at the practice. Even as the company expanded, Pat remained their single transcriptionist. She was so devoted and efficient that no one could possibly replace her.
In the good and the bad times, Pat knew she was loved.
Pat was loved by her siblings, her cousins, and her mother Mary. She was a loving oldest sister. Pat was large and in charge, hosting family most holidays. Imagine a slew of local siblings and their spouses gathered together. The laughter, the gossip, the arguments, the politics, the TV trays, the pickup football. Compliments about the turkey and Grandma Mary’s ambrosia. Complaints about the shipyard and the government. Some things never change. But at the center of it all was Pat, welcoming, weighing in, interested in everyone, cooking all day and collapsing afterwards.
Pat was loved by First Baptist Church of Newport News, then located on 29th street. She was involved in all aspects of church life. From Sunday School, VBS and the girl’s auxiliary, to choir, summer camp, and church picnics. The message of good news this church taught, and the members who mentored and guided Pat along the way, were foundational in forming the relationship with Christ that sustained her for a lifetime.
Pat was loved by her two daughters, Jane and Susan.
I spent some time in Pat and Buster’s apartment on Monday and noticed a tribute to Pat’s love for her girls hanging on the wall in the sitting area: a massive, glorious portrait of Susan and Jane. Although neither Susan or Jane liked that picture, it was obvious they both deeply loved their mom.
Susan remembers how her mom never talked about herself. No matter how much pain or discomfort she was in, she was always most interested in how you were doing.
Jane remembers how her mother struck just the right balance of giving them roots and wings, and always always she adored us and showed it so abundantly. And she fondly remembers the warm connections her mom made during a weekly Bible Study Fellowship class at Bethel Baptist.
Pat was loved by her grandchildren, their spouses, and their children.
Ryan and Courtney said Pat was one of a kind. Not long ago they gave Pat baby booties at Christmas (to announce the anticipated arrival of another great grandbaby) and she thought the baby booties were "toe warmers" and wanted to put them on her big toes.
Blair and Becca remember the pride Pat had in her family. How excited she was to watch her family grow... wedding by wedding and baby by baby.
Kyle remembers how Pat would wake up in so much pain she could hardly walk, but the second she saw him she would smile and  say "Good Morning Sunshine"
Rebecca and Pat were very, very close. Pat was her favorite person in the world. In college, Rebecca created a series of family portraits depicted as a food item. Grandma Pat was a huge lemon meringue pie painted in oil on canvas. Years later, when Rebecca and Gabe got engaged she requested Pat’s small chip diamond ring as her own wedding ring and Gabe was all too happy to comply.
Courtney loved the sound of Pat’s laugh and how she gave the softest hugs in the world. How she called the grandkids “sugah.” How much she loved Chuck and always talked about how lucky we are to have him.
Noah remembers the warmth and welcoming hugs Pat gave many years ago when he was new to the family. He will miss how engaged and genuinely interested she was in everyone's happenings and happiness.
Pat was loved by her husband, Buster.
In 1950, Pat was a young woman living in a Hampton apartment, taking two buses to work at nights at Mushy’s Soda Shop. There she saw a young marine in tennis whites at the counter. She arranged a friend to set her and Buster up and the rest is history.
When I asked Buster what led him to propose to Pat, he said “she expected it.”
And I’m told as recently as last year Pat remarked about how cute she thought Buster was.
70 years of marriage certainly had its ups and downs. They’d sometimes argue over things like why Buster bought the name brand groceries, but they didn’t let the sun go down on their anger.
After 70 years together the two were still deeply in love. She was his go-to person, and he never failed to make her laugh.
Most importantly, she was loved by Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ love for her was the source of the love she poured out on others.
More than once she would stifle a mean comment from her daughters saying, “Imagine Jesus were in the room with you, listening when you speak.”
That was, of course, advice she didn’t always take herself, but still a good lesson none the less.
A few days ago Pat was near the end of her ninety year journey in this life.
Jane asked her if she was afraid, and Pat answered “no.”
Jane asked again, “Why aren’t you afraid?” and Pat said “because I’m going to heaven because I believe in Jesus.”
That’s the kind of peace and joy we want everyone here to experience, even as you rightly grieve the loss of Pat.
That peace and joy in the presence of Jesus is the focus of this song.
In the Garden (Tracy Bledsoe Houston)


Don Shula has more wins than any other coach in NFL history. The only active coach to even be in the ballpark is New England’s Bill Belichick, and he’d still need at least 5 more winning seasons to catch Shula. So Don Shula is kind of a big deal.
Shula used to think he was a big deal too, until he was humbled in the off-season many years ago.
He and his wife were in a little seaside town in Maine, hoping for a chance to relax anonymously. It was raining when they arrived, so they decided to go see a movie. As they entered the small theater, the movie had not yet started, and the lights were still up.
When the small crowd in the theater saw the great Don Shula enter the room, they began to applaud spontaneously.
After Don and his wife sat sat down, Don leaned over to her and said, "I guess there's no place I'm not known."
His wife smiled and added, "And loved, dear."
A man seated nearby reached over and shook Don's hand.
Shula said, "I have to admit I'm kind of surprised that you know me here."
The man replied, "Oh, should I know you? We're just happy to see you folks because the manager said he wasn't going to start the movie until at least two more people showed up."
Why would I begin a message at a funeral service for Pat Mesic with a story about Don Shula?
Because Pat Mesic had something Don Shula lacked: humility.
When I met with Buster, Susan and Jane a few days ago to help plan this service, Jane shared that if she could describe her mom in one word it would be humility.
There’s a lot of good things that’ve been said about Pat today, and probably many more we could add. Perhaps humility isn’t the first word that would come to mind.
So much of what I read and heard about Pat was about how much she cared about other people, or how interested in others she was. You may not have realized this, but that sort of concern for other people is exactly what humility looks like at street-level.
Around the same time Buster and Jane were getting married, a British writer and Christian theologian named C.S. Lewis was writing Mere Christianity, one of the most influential Christian books of all time.
In that book he said this about the Christian virtue of humility:
"Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call 'humble' nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. . . . He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all."
That is an uncanny description of so much that I heard about Pat Mesic. She truly was a humble person.
I want to take a few moments to talk about humility because it’s more than a nice virtue that will bless other people and lead them to celebrate you when you’re gone.
Humility is an essential heart posture to believe the good news that Pat believed.
You’ll never have faith in Jesus unless you humble yourself.
Or to put it another way, pride is the greatest obstacle to belief.
Jesus put it this way in a story He told in Luke 18:
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee was standing and praying like this about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people—greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this one [the humble tax collector] went down to his house justified rather than the other [the proud Pharisee], because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”(10-14)
In this story we’re introduced to two men. One is a proud, self-righteous religious person called a Pharisee. The other is a humble tax collector.
Both men did the same thing. They both went to the temple as good Jewish men would do, and they both prayed.
But they left drastically different.
The Pharisee went home as he came. Still proud. Still distant from God, even though he imagined himself to be quite spiritual.
The tax collector went home “justified,” meaning he went home with salvation.
The reason for the difference was not their outward actions but the inward posture of their hearts.
Humility is an essential heart posture to believe the good news.
The Christian good news consists of belief in three simple truths:
The truth about God
The truth about Humanity
The truth about Jesus
Humility is the essential heart posture to believe each of these truths.
It takes humility to believe the truth about God.
Hebrews 11:6—Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
Pat had hope in her dying moments because she was believing in something she could not see. Someone she could not see.
That requires humility.
Conversation with Jeff— “you cannot prove to me that God exists.”
It was pride that still keeps him from believing
C. S. Lewis — "As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and peoples: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you."
How about you? Are you stiff-arming the hope that Pat had because you don’t want to humble yourself enough to believe in a God you cannot see?
Today you can humble yourself and believe the truth about God.
But that’s not enough. Both men in Jesus’ story believed that God existed, which is why they both prayed. There’s more we need to believe...
It takes humility to believe the truth about humanity.
From beginning to end, the Bible depicts humanity as having one basic problem.
Not education, not resources, not self-awareness
Rebellion. What the Bible calls sin.
Romans 3:23—For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
God has a standard, and everyone has come up short.
The Pharisee didn’t understand this, but the tax collector did
How about you? Is it hard for you to believe that you’re really a rebel at heart?
Today you can humble yourself and believe the truth about you.
But that’s not enough. The tax collector did more than believe that God existed and that he was sinful. There’s more we need to believe...
It takes humility to believe the truth about Jesus.
In the story, the tax collector knows that God exists and he knows that he’s in trouble because he’s a sinner.
But he believes more than that. He believes that his only hope is God choosing to reach down and show him mercy.
That’s exactly what God has done in the person and work of Jesus, the very person Pat was thinking about in her final thoughts on this earth.
God is holy and perfect in all His ways. We are not. We’ve all sinned against Him.
We may feel like we’re pretty good compared to this or that person, but the standard is not our neighbor but God.
Because of that, God is rightly angry at our sins.
The same way we’re rightly angry when we see injustice in our world today.
But God in His mercy sent us His Son...
John 3:16—“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus lived the life we should have lived—never sinned!
Jesus died the death we should have died—on a cross!
Jesus rose from the dead so that if we humble ourselves and believe in Him we will have everlasting life!
Here’s why we need to be humble:
The Bible says we’re so bad Jesus had to die for us.
But we’re so loved Jesus was glad to die for us!
At the end of the story about the two men, Jesus says:
Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.
This verse is for Pat, and everyone else like her who puts their hope in Jesus.
In this life the humble are brought low.
But in the next life, we are never brought low again.
Revelation 21:1-4—“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
To believe these things requires you to let go of your pride. Will you do that today?
It Is Well With My Soul


John 14:1-6 —“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. 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, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”


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