Jesse Michael Hoffman’s funeral was today. Visitation was from 9:00 to 10:30. My daughter and I arrived at 10:15 and the line to hug the family and say good-bye to Jesse was still out the door.
At the front of the church were two large boards covered with pictures of Jesse. Jesse as a baby, Jesse with a binkie, Jessie growing up. Jesse with his wife Jamie, Jesse with his son Christian, Jesse with his sister and his family. Jesse smiling.
The top left corner of the board showed him as a baby, and the bottom right corner showed him as a man. 26 years on one board.
Jesse was loved. Jesse is still loved.
Jesse was at the front of the church. I knew it was Jesse Michael Hoffman. He looked like the man I had seen standing beside Jamie at church. There was a little seat where you could kneel down and say good-bye to him.
There were three woman standing beside Jesse. Jamie, his wife, Amanda his sister, and Marlene his Mom. People waiting patiently to hold each woman and offer words of encouragement. Telling them how they knew Jesse, how much Jesse meant to them.
The room was full. The employees of the funeral home kept going into the back room and pulling out chairs, until everyone had a seat.
Pastor Steve DeFrain from Journey church, where Jesse and Jamie attended, opened with a prayer, and then Jesse’s friends and sister spoke.
They all had stories to tell. Stories of how kind Jesse was. Stories of how smart Jesse was. Stories of how Jesse never gave up on anyone.
Jesse is gone. But he lives in the stories.
Pastor Steve DeFrain of Journey church said, “I have three words for you.”
- Eternal comfort
“Today we have promise. Jesus changed his life. He is running in heaven with Jesus. Jesus is good. He saves us. He sets us free.”
Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
“Jesus loves you more than you love yourself today.”
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
“There is hope is this place today. We will see each other again. There is hope and his name is Jesus.”
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
I Thessalonians 4:13-14
“No matter where you are. Jesus has a purpose and a plan for your life.”
Pastor Steve DeFrain closed in prayer. He prayed for people to know and love Jesus.
Jesus does have a plan for your life. Jesse wanted you to know that Jesus loves you. Jesus can change your life. Jesse wouldn’t give up on you. Don’t give up on yourself.
Two of Jesse’s friends played their guitars and sang. Deep songs of hope, redemption and love. I don’t remember if we clapped. I think we did. I can only remember their voices as they sang, the guitar and the sound of deep sobbing.
Sobbing for Jesse. Sobbing because Jesse is gone.
But there is hope. And one day, Jesse will say again to his sister Amanda, “I’m your baby brother, come and give me a hug.” And one day Jamie will see her husband again, and Christian will hold his father’s hand.
Please pray for Jamie and Christian. And if you have a story about Jesse will you please send it to Amanda, Jesse’s sister. She is making a book for Jesse’s son Christian. Please send them to email@example.com
Memorial contributions may be made in Jesse’s memory for the benefit of his son and made payable to “Christian Michael Hoffman” c/o 300 Fayette Street Conshohocken, PA 19428.