Thanks for coming out this afternoon to celebrate the life of Callie Louise Garris McMillan.
I anticipated that some of you would comment on what Callie meant to you, I thought, what possibly I could say about her that would bring some comfort and peace to you.
Revelation 2:17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”
Callie now has a new name only known to her and God because she is a blood washed, born-again, and Spirit filled tongue-talking child of the living God. Wondering possibly, what her new name could be and of course not knowing but trying to get a hint I looked it up and found out what the name Callie means.
We gathered here this afternoon to honor her all have a different idea of what her name might be by our relationship to her.
Those of you who call her Mother would definitely have a different picture of her than those that just called her a friend. Those of you who call her sister would have a different view than those who call her sister in-law. Some call her Grandmother and Great-Grandmother and Great, Great-Grandmother and all would have a different frame of reference. Those that call her mother-in-law know her differently than those of us who call her sister-in-law by marriage, even a double sister-in-law by marriage would have their opinion, and I’ll let you figure that one out.
To me she was a true Sister in the Lord as we both call out to Abba, Father.
“Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." Galatians 4:6
I found not surprisingly that Callie means beautiful in the Greek because she is a beautiful person both outwardly and inwardly. The years she spent communicating and serving her heavenly Father brought an inward beauty and peace that radiated outwardly. So maybe her new name is some spin-off of the word beautiful.
The ninety-one years she spent on this earth may give a clue to her new name. By the way, her middle name of Louise means ‘warrior’ in German.
She truly was a warrior born to Godly parents in the hills of western North Carolina during the Great War to end all wars, WW1. Raised in a God-fearing family as a young child she experienced the roaring twenties with all its excesses of bootlegging and crime but was kept safe by the faith of her family.
Then as a young girl, she experienced the great depression that began in 1929 and some said that lasted for four years but for some of us into the fifties. Then in high school, she met and fell in love with a young man from Goldsboro working with Roosevelt’s CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps a companion to the WPA, Works Projects Administration or as we called it, ‘We Poke Along’ and she saw many of the roads, bridges, and inter-structure build in the country.
Then a move to Goldsboro to start a new life and their firstborn, Mary came along, two years later Gordon Jr., then two years and Sylvia blessed their life. Another two years and she is expecting again, their lives were rudely interrupted by another War, and she saw her beloved go off to fight the Hun. Julian was born during that time and her faith carried her through the time Gordon spent fighting through the battlefields of France and Germany with Patton’s Third Army. I am sure those times tested her faith especially when learning that one bullet penetrated his helmet and raddled around in it.
The War ended and that Great Generation came home, they started living again. The fifties and sixties came along and she watched as her brood started to leave the nest and marry and along came the grand children who she cherished.
Then the seventies when in a space of six months she lost her husband and firstborn son. I marveled at the time how her faith carried her through that time and how He inspired and strengthened her to carry on.
She rejoiced that her youngest got the calling and became a Bible-thumping Holy Ghost filled Pentecostal Man of God. She picked her self up got a job and worked many years while serving her God. The great and great great grandchildren eventually came thrilling her.
Then the turn of the century and eventually, time caught up with her and she had to give up some of her self-dependence, which she cherished. A faithful God provided her with children that cared for her and He provided a son-in-law that went beyond the call of duty and helped provide loving care. We know the jokes about mother-in-law relationships but this was a rare case and he will be rewarded for that service.
Will her life experiences provide that new name? I don’t know, whatever she now has that new name and is in a place of peace, joy, and love that we can only partially grasp. It is far beyond our knowledge to picture that place and it is just like trying to understand a trillion dollars.
What is a trillion dollars? Well, it's a million million. It's a thousand billion. It's a one-followed by 12 zeros.
It is beyond our abilities to express a trillion dollars so how can one explain the place where she now dwells. But try to think of a time you experienced just a little peace, joy, or love and multiply it by a trillion times.
It’s beyond me – but one explains it as “Heaven is God’s beautiful home -- Jesus has prepared a place in Heaven for all who believe in Him. Angels worship God there. It is made of gold. There is a beautiful river with the tree of life. God is the light. There are no liars or wicked people, no more tears or death. Everyone in the Lamb's Book of Life is there.”
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”