November’s musing is dedicated to Margaret Burns-Salmond who passed away on 21st September 2010, aged 85 … I was privileged to officiate at her funeral service on 30th September. Here is my address on that occasion:

We have heard a moving tribute from the family, and I would like to bring some personal words at this point. I first met Margaret in the early 1990s. She became an integral part of our New Life family, and was extremely involved in different areas of the church’s life & mission – e.g. the Songs of Praise team (affectionately known as the SOP team), and our children’s club KRASH (Kids Really Are Special Here) where she was known as Mrs. Resource, handing out the different craft resources .  She was a regular at services, and home groups, and in many years never missed our annual Grapevine event at Lincoln.

Speaking for my wife, Sue & myself, Margaret was very much a special part of our lives, who we were extremely privileged to know.

In considering what I needed to share this afternoon my thoughts turned to some words written by St Paul towards the end of his life…he said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith…henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing”

These words: I have fought, I have finished, I have kept…may well be applied to Margaret.

  • She was a fighter – and refused to give in. This was never more exemplified than in the last few years, when she battled with various health issues, which necessitated frequent hospital visits, often two or three times a week.
  • She was a finisher – with a determination/stickability matched by none that I know…Margaret was no quitter, if she started something she wanted to see it through, and it pained her considerably if she was unable to do so.
  • She was a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, unashamed to be known as His, and even in her darker moments, unprepared to let go of her precious faith. She did not have only religious belief, stored away at the back of her mind, she walked in a personal relationship with the Lord, which kept her focussed even through the toughest times.

The latter part of Paul’s statement speaks of a reward given to ALL who love his appearing. Margaret was certainly not afraid of death, she was ready to meet the Lord, trusting not in her own works, but in the finished work of Jesus Christ at the Cross, and the unmerited favour which flows from that sacrifice.

Along with members of the immediate family I was privileged to be at her bedside when she passed away – I remember very close to the end, as her breathing grew more shallow, leaning over and whispering to her: “Goodnight, Margaret – I’ll see you in the morning”. Indeed, the dark night of death came, and weeping may be our experience at this moment – but the glorious morning of resurrection will break, when all tears will be wiped away forever…this is the certainty of our hope, today.