Welcome + Worship + Witness

The Rector: Funeral Sermon for Gordon Flesher

Funeral Service for Gordon Flesher
11 April 2022

As we are all more than aware, we have lived through an extraordinary chapter of our nation’s history
We have been locked down and socially distanced for the best part of two years
Indeed, it was only in February of this year that the Government announced the end of COVID restrictions
These two years of restriction have had consequences for us all
Not least the clergy who have been restricted in what they can do
I only arrived at the Priory in April 2019 and have spent the large part of my three year ministry very restricted in moving around the parish
However, by some miracle before we were locked down, I started visiting and, by chance, went to see Gordon and Gill
I remember the visit very well as I was most taken, particularly, with the energy and enthusiasm of Gordon
Not least in his enthusiastic stories about his life working for Dunlop
I am fascinated by all aspects of business and could not help but be impressed by his stories about tyres and sales
Indeed, when Gill and Tim came to see me about a fortnight ago I remembered our visit immediately

In hindsight, I am so pleased that I managed to visit
Gordon and Gill started worshipping at the Priory in 1995 when the Rector, John Ward, moved from Menston
But, before that, Gordon had been in choirs in Rawdon and Stondon Massey
As well as being the chair of the PCC at Burley Church – brave man to take on that role
Given the many different chapters of our life, it not surprising that we move Church from time to time as well
But the important point was that Gordon had a life in the Church as well as a life in the world of commerce
It is only a shame that the Church of England did not have Gordon on its sales team!
But as well as knowing all there was to know about tyres, as a churchgoer, Gordon will also have been aware of the liturgical chapters of the Church
As many of you probably know, each year in the Church, we celebrate Advent then Christmas followed by Epiphany
And then we move onward to Lent and then to Easter itself
The different stories speak of different parts of our faith
Christ coming to earth as a baby at Christmas and then being made manifest
However, as we approach Easter, we start by remembering our Lord being in the wilderness for forty days and nights in Lent
And then we start the journey with him to Calvary in Holy Week before the proclamation of the Resurrection on Easter Day
We tell the Christian story each and every year
This is not just to remind ourselves of the works of God in our lives
But also to anchor and understand our own lives through the Christian paradigm

First and foremost however, it must be said that, by anyone’s standards, Gordon had a full and blessed life
He had continual employment for 47 years, 63 years of marriage and excellent health for 85 years
With Gill by his side and his son Tim, he was blessed with great riches from God
And we give thanks for all his blessings today – across all seasons

But Gordon, like all of us, had a Lenten period – in his case, for the last five years of his life
He will have journeyed through this barren land and, like our Lord, been sore tested

In the same way, he will have walked the way of the cross as he approached the very end of his life
And whether we have faith or none, we will all walk the same road as Gordon
The same road as all those who have gone before us and by those who will follow

But it is worthy of note that Gordon died in Lent and his funeral is taking place in Holy Week
Today may seem like a dark Lenten period but the reality is very different
Because although we all walk the path to Calvary like our Lord we know that, at the end of this sorrow, is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
We may feel sorrow today but by Sunday we will be full of Resurrection joy
Gordon is today commended into God’s loving care and we can share his eternal joy together this coming Sunday – if not before
And so as we say good-bye to Gordon today
We give thanks for all the blessings that he received in his life and the blessings he bestowed on others
We remember especially Gill and Tim and the rest of the family
But I particularly remember the enthusiasm he showed three years ago for the life he led in commerce
Like his family, Dunlop were lucky to have him
Now he join’s God’s sale team and heaven is all the richer as a result