Memorial Service for Gordon G. Anderson

Toronto – December 11, 2012

Prelude

Hymn Praise Ye The Lord 830

Sentence of Scripture

Opening of the Word

Readings from the Scriptures

Readings from the Heavenly Doctrines

Interlude

Hymn Humbly Lord We Ask Thy Blessing 852

Memorial Address:

Hymn O Lord Whose Power 861

Clergy Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer

Benediction

Hymn Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness 884

Postlude

Readings from the Old Testament:

(PSA 36:7-10) How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. {8} They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. {9} For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light. {10} Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You, And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.

(PSA 84) How lovely is Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts! {2} My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. {3} Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young; Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God. {4} Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah {5} Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. {6} As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools. {7} They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion. {8} O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah {9} O God, behold our shield, And look upon the face of Your anointed. {10} For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. {11} For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. {12} O LORD of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Readings from the New Testament:

(Mat 5:1-10) And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. {2} Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: {3} “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. {4} Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. {5} Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. {6} Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. {7} Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. {8} Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. {9} Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. {10} Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

(John 4:13-14) Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, {14} “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

(John 14:1-4) “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. {2} “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. {3} “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. {4} “And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Readings from the Heavenly Doctrine:

Heavenly Secrets 3957:2 “…when a person is divested of his body, he comes into the full exercise of a much more enlightened understanding than when living in the body, for the reason that while he is in the body, corporeal and worldly things occupy his thoughts, which induce obscurity; but when he is divested of the body, such things do not interfere, and it is with him as with those who are in the interior thought by abstraction of the mind from the things of the outward senses. From this they might know that the state after death is much more clear-sighted and enlightened than the state before death; and that when a person dies, he passes comparatively from shade into light, because he passes from the things of the world to those of heaven, and from the things of the body to those of the spirit.”

Heavenly Secrets 5006:4 “…a person is in this world in order to be initiated by his activities there into the things which are of heaven, and his life in this world is hardly a moment in comparison with this life after death, for this is eternal. But there are few who believe that they will live after death; and for this reason also, heavenly things are of no account to them. But this I can declare with certainty: that a person immediately after death is in the other life, and that his life in this world is wholly continued there, and is of the same quality as it had been in this world.”

Conjugial Love 28 “…a person has common sense, and this is one with that influx from heaven into the interiors of his mind from which, inwardly in himself, he perceives truths and sees them, as it were; and especially this truth, that he lives as a person after death, happy if he has lived well, unhappy if he has lived ill; for who does not think this, when he elevates his mind a little above the thought next to his senses? As is the case when he is inwardly in Divine worship, and when he lies upon his bed about to die and awaits the end; likewise when he hears about the deceased and their lot. …every one perceives within himself that he lives as a person after death. What man who has loved his wife and his infants and children, if in thought he is elevated above the sensual things of the body, does not say within himself when they are dying or have died, that they are in God’s hand, and that he will see them again after his own death, and will again be conjoined with them in a life of love and joy!”

Here end the lessons. Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and keep it. Amen.

Gordon Geoffrey Anderson

April 8, 1922 - Dec. 8, 2012

Memorial Service by Rev. James P. Cooper

Olivet Church - Dec. 11, 2012

It seems to us that the death of the body is the end of life. When the spirit leaves the body, we are no longer able to see, speak to, or be with the person we have loved. But this is nothing but an appearance, for everyone’s spirit lives eternally. Unlike the body, which must return to the natural substances from which it was formed, the mind and spirit survive the fall of the body because they are not material creations. The essential human spirit is a living thing formed and fashioned by the Lord Himself from spiritual substances in such a way that it is beyond the reach of death.

It is truth that the person is no longer conscious of the world of nature and no longer able to communicate with those of us who remain behind. Once the earthly body is removed, the way is opened for the ascent of the spirit into the world of its own proper life and use. This is a marvellous thing, and yet it is perfectly “natural” for it is in the order of the Creator’s own plan for us, that there shall be a heaven from the human race, a heaven full of people who have freely chosen to live their lives in the Lord’s own order and so have freely returned His love. The great marvel is that we have all been created to live to eternity in heaven: our time in the natural world, which we love and hold to so dearly, is actually only a period of preparation for the true life which is to come.

With this in mind, it is then evident that death is not a thing to be feared. It is nothing more than a normal process by means of which the Divine purpose in creation is brought to its fulfilment. Death is the gateway to the life which was planned for us from the very beginning of creation. Everyone must eventually pass through this door, each one in the Lord’s own time. So, we can see that death is not what the appearances of the world of nature would have us believe. It is not the end but the true beginning of life!

Since we have all been created for the spiritual world, the Lord has provided that the change be made so gently that the person himself may not even be conscious of it. The changes from natural to spiritual life all take place while the spirit sleeps. A new body is given, and the plane of consciousness shifts from the natural world to the spiritual world. When he awakens, all things appear to him even as they appeared in this world. It is as if he had fallen into a healing slumber and awakened again, refreshed.

When we think of those who have left us we should think of them as we knew them here on earth, as living human beings who enjoyed life. Everything that was part of the person on earth is with him in the life after death – his loves, his hopes, his sense of humour, his pleasures – nothing about his essential character has changed. There he lives as he lived here, serving the neighbour in his daily activities, enjoying recreations of all kinds, living as he wants to live, except now with far greater freedom, and far greater delight.

The truth is that death is an act of Divine mercy, the way that the spirit is released from its earthly bonds in order that it might enter its true home. This mercy is especially evident with those who have been burdened with grave illnesses, or great pain. With such people, further days on earth mean only continued suffering and mental strain for both themselves and those who love them and care for them. Life becomes for them a heavy burden, a dead weight on the body and the spirit. But, by means of the act of death, new life is given, and in this renewal, a person enters into a life in harmony with his true, internal character.

Because the process is one that everyone is curious about, Emanuel Swedenborg was permitted to witness and record the process so that all might know the reality of the life after death. He writes,

    “When they have died and come alive again in the spirit, an event which commonly takes place on the third day after the heart has ceased to beat, they seem to themselves to have a body exactly like the one they had while living in the former world. This is so much the case that they are quite unaware that they are not still living in the former world, but it is not in a material but a substantial body, which appears to their senses to be material, though it is not. After a few days they see that they are in a world where there are various communities established. This is called the world of spirits, and it lies midway between heaven and hell. All the communities there, though countless in number, are arranged in wonderful order, according to whether their natural affections are good or evil. Those communities which are arranged in accordance with good natural affections are in touch with heaven; those arranged in accordance with evil affections are in touch with hell. The newly arrived spirit, that is, the spiritual man, is taken and introduced to various communities, good as well as evil, and tested to see whether he responds to various kinds of good and truth, and in what way; or whether he responds to evils and falsities, and in what way. If he responds to various kinds of good and truth, he is taken away from evil communities, and brought into good ones. He visits various of these communities until he comes to one which answers to his natural affection. There he enjoys the good corresponding to that affection, and this continues until he puts off his natural affection and puts on a spiritual one; then he is raised to heaven. This is what happens those who have lived in the world a life of charity, and thus also a life of faith; that is to say, they have believed in the Lord and shunned evils as sins” (True Christian Religion 281).

    “Who does not know, or may not know, that a person lives after death, because he is born a person and is created an image of God, and also because the Lord teaches it in His Word? But what his life is to be, has been hitherto unknown. It has been believed, that he would then be a soul, and of soul there has been no other idea than that of ether or air, thus that it is a mere breath, such as a person breathes out from his mouth when he dies, in which, however, his vitality resides. It is also regarded as destitute of any sight like that of the eye, and of any hearing like that of the ear, an of any speech like that of the mouth. And yet, a person after death is as much a person as he was before, so much so as to be unaware that he is not still in the former world; he walks, runs, and sits, as in the former world; he eats and drinks as in the former world; he enjoys marriage delight as in the former world; in a word, he is a person in each and every respect. From all this it is clear that death is not the extinction but the continuation of life, and is merely a transition” (True Christian Religion 792).

With these teachings in mind, let us take a few moments to remember our friends Gordon Anderson who was born in Toronto on April 8, 1922, a little over 90 years ago. He grew up with his older sister Helen and younger brother Bob in Parkdale, in a home on Sunnyside Avenue. Today, in Gordon and Margaret’s living room, there’s a painting of the Sunnyside train station that was near their house. Gordon and Bob were fascinated by trains and spent many hours watching the them come and go.

Gordon Attended Fern Avenue Public school, Parkdale Collegiate, and the University of Toronto, where he received a degree in Electrical Engineering.

As a boy, he was an enthusiastic member of the Boy Scouts. In High School he enjoyed being part of the team that developed and operate a system of lights for stage productions and dances. He also enjoyed rowing, competing in regattas for the Argonaut Rowing Club.

In his professional career he was interested in fire protection engineering. He became a consultant, working for a major insurance broker. This involved finding solutions to the ever-changing fire protection problems of various industries. It was a useful pursuit that gave him a great deal of satisfaction to know that disasters were likely being prevented.

Gordon married Katherine Bainbridge in June, 1950. Their daughter Susan was born in 1953, and their son Craig in 1957. They in turn produced 6 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. This was a very happy time in Gordon’s life. The family was involved in the Olivet congregation. Gordon found contentment in the teachings of the New Church, and in serving the organized church in various ways such as being an usher, being the property manager, and being a member of the Executive Committee.

It was a tragic loss to the family when his wife Katherine suddenly died in 1989 at a time when they could have been reasonably expecting a quiet and happy retirement together. Gordon turned to his hobby of repairing antique clocks. The hobby developed in an avocation and a business. Gordon really loved clocks, and really enjoyed getting them to work properly again. He had real talent for making special parts if they were not otherwise available. This also brought him into contact with many people who became his friends.

Here are two illustrations of how important his work with clocks became to him in his retirement, one funny, one thoughtful.

The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time.”

The Clock

The clock of life is wound but once

And no man has the power

To tell just when the hand will stop

At late our early hour.

Now is the only time you own

Live, love, and toil with a will

Place no faith in tomorrow

For the clock may then be still.


An unexpected benefit of his clock business arose when Margaret Pinkney brought a clock to be fixed. One thing led to another and each of them entered into a second phase of their lives - a marriage that has filled the last 22 years with happiness and contentment, doing things like going on a cruise in Muskoka, or in the Caribbean. Or going for a drive in the country to enjoy the view, or to attend a play or a concert. And there was always the pleasure of cottage life.

How do you sum up such a long and varied life with so many different ways of connecting with people and being useful? He was a reliable husband. He was a fine father to his children. He was supportive of others, generous with his time, and eager to pass on his wisdom to those who sought his guidance, and he hoped that others would live their lives with their hearts; and that we would be kind, generous, and generous with our time.

We’ll close now with two more passages from the Heavenly Doctrines of the New Church, which Gordon loved. First,

        “‘Old age’ in the internal sense does not signify old age, because the internal person, or the person’s spirit, does not know what old age is; but as the body or external person grows old, the internal passes into newness of life, a person’s spirit being perfected by age as his bodily powers diminish. This is still more so in the other life, where those who are in heaven are continually brought by the Lord into more perfect life, and at last into the bloom of youth, even those who have died in a good old age” (Heavenly Secrets 4676).

And finally,

        “The Lord is present with every one, urging and pressing to be received; and His first coming, which is called the dawn, is when a person receives Him, which he does when he acknowledges Him as his God, Creator, Redeemer, and Saviour. From this time a person’s understanding begins to be enlightened in spiritual things, and to advance into a more and more interior wisdom; and as he receives this wisdom from the Lord, he advances through morning into day, and this day lasts with him into old age, even to death; and after death he passes into heaven to the Lord Himself; and there, although he died an old man, he is restored to the morning of his life, and the rudiments of the wisdom implanted in him in the natural world grow to eternity” (True Christian Religion 766).

Let us leave here today, then, remembering Gordon’s many fine qualities and think of him entering into a new, heavenly life in a body that is no longer weak and failing but healthy and strong and daily more youthful. And we can reflect on the joy he must feel as the limitations fall away and he can enter ever more fully into the things of true human value that bring lasting delight.

    (PSA 84) {10} … A day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. {11} For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. {12} O LORD of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Amen.