A precious lady went home to be with her Lord and Savior and to join other family members in heaven on Easter Sunday morning. Family and friends of Ethel Eckelmeyer gathered together on Friday to celebrate her life of 100 years. In prophetic circles the number 100 represents fullness or a full reward. It is fitting that Aunt Ethel lived to be 100 years old.
At the memorial service, as family members described Ethel's life, it became obvious that she left behind a legacy for all of us. She handed down to us an example of a life lived connected to God. In his eulogy, her son Ken referred to John 15. "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit..." (Verses 4-5)
Ethel's life bore the fruit of her relationship with the Lord. She was led by the Spirit of the Living God and the fruit of that intimate relationship was manifest in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) Her son, his wife and her granddaughter all testified to the beautiful relationship that she had with her husband Ray. Ethel and Ray were happily married for 67 years until his death in 2008. Ken told us that he never heard a harsh word come from either of them in all the years that they were married. There was never a fight. Instead they chose to live out Ephesians 5:21. "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."
The pastor who presided at Aunt Ethel's memorial service remembered how she served God through her service at the church. As a Sunday school teacher she shared the Gospel with her charges. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) With Ethel, the key to sharing about God's love was demonstrating it. The pastor quoted St. Francis of Assisi: "Preach Jesus, and if necessary use words." Aunt Ethel did not have to use words; she exhibited love to everyone around her.
The love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that Ethel carried changed the atmosphere around her. All who knew her will testify to the legacy of love that she left behind. We would do well to follow her lifestyle. Leif Hetland, author of Transformed by Love, talks about the transforming power of love. "To transform the world, to bring change to every place on this planet, we need to first become so full of His love that we spill over. Only from this place of overflow can we transform cities and nations." Aunt Ethel overflowed with love and left us a legacy to which we must aspire.
Joan E. Mathias