Community turns out for final tribute to former beloved mayor
Former Berne Mayor Richard Lehman might have been a tad uncomfortable with all of the recognition given at his memorial service at First Mennonite Church on Friday morning.
Lehman, described by many as a quiet, behind-the-scenes, humble, but confident person, took the forefront at Fridayâ€™s service as friends, clergy, and family members, sought to pay tribute to a beloved government leader, friend, and family member.
â€œHe was an businessman known for honesty and fair value,â€ said Pastor Jerry Flueckiger, in paying tribute to Lehmanâ€™s legacy.
â€œHe was a community leader, good friend, and an encourager in so many ways,â€ continued Flueckiger. â€œHis family was his priority, whether he was taking his grandchildren on a ride or simply being present to listen.â€
The large crowd of those attending the funeral had a good chuckle when Flueckiger referred to a comment made by Lehmanâ€™s wife, Colleen, at visitation on Thursday.
â€œWhen I spoke to her about being married to Dick for 64 years, she replied, â€˜We were young, dumb, and in love, and that was enough.â€™â€
Prior to Flueckigerâ€™s message, a service laden with music, poetry, and family reflections presented tributes to Lehman with the same kindness and balance with which he lived his life.
â€œOh seek that beautiful stream...itâ€™s waters so free, are fully for thee,â€ sang musicians Byron Fox and Fred Stauffer, reminding many of Lehmanâ€™s love for music through the Mennonite music programs.
Grandchildren listed attributes they admired in their grandfather and Rio DeSanto listed numerous of Lehmanâ€™s favorite verses of wisdom from the Book of Proverbs.
Brandon Steury read a poem entitled, â€œGrandpaâ€™s Poem,â€ and daughters Linda, Janice, and Dawn, stood arm in arm to share a special tribute to their beloved father.
Lehman, who was born on May 2, 1926, passed one day before his 84th birthday.
â€œRichard gave his life to the Lord and accepted Him as Savior at an early age and his desire was to serve the Lord to the end,â€ stated a tribute written on the memorial bulletin.
A statement signed by Lehman noted, â€œGrandpa loved all of them dearly (grandchildren and family), and his desire and wish is that the entire family know Christ and accept him as Savior.â€ The statement was followed by a personal signature from Lehman.
Flueckiger referred to the fact that Lehman had been stricken with polio as a young man and had suffered various physical maladies as perhaps an unusual testimony to Godâ€™s ultimate healing in his life.
In referring to Matthew 9:1-8, the story of Jesusâ€™ healing of a man sick with palsy, Flueckiger noted several types of possible healing scenarios, including the bodyâ€™s ability for spontaneous healing, healing assisted by physicianâ€™s care, and healing that many would refer to as miraculous healing.
â€œDick experienced enough healing to live to one day short of 84 years of age,â€ said Flueckiger. â€œNothing in Godâ€™s creation, including man, lives forever. How often we forget that those people who Jesus healed in His ministry on earth eventually died.â€
Flueckiger emphasized that there is more to the Biblical text than the fact that Jesus said, â€œrise up and walk.â€
â€œHe said, â€˜your sins are forgiven,â€™â€ continued Flueckiger. â€œPhysical healing is not the only kind of healing God does for us. He also does spiritual healing.
â€œThe Babe in the manger and the gifts of the wise men are not the real story,â€ Flueckiger said. â€œThat tiny babe grew up to teach, heal, and to die for all of our sins. Jesus didnâ€™t do funerals, he did resurrections. He died to defeat death and bring Heaven to us.â€
Flueckiger said that physical healing leads to extended time on earth, but spiritual healing leads to endless time with God. Physical healing is temporary, but spiritual healing is forever.
â€œThe word salvation comes from the word, â€˜salve,â€™ which means that salvation is Godâ€™s healing ointment for us,â€ emphasized Flueckiger. â€œSalvation comes to us through Christâ€™s death and resurrection. At the time of a funeral, we gather to celebrate Godâ€™s healing from sin through our Lord Jesus Christ.
â€œThe ultimate question at this point is, â€˜what will I do with Christ in my life,â€™â€ said Flueckiger.
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