A Celebration of the Life of
DAVID KINGSLEY THOMAS
1938 – 2017
Friday 18th August 2017 at Bethesda Chapel, Dinas Powys 12:30pm
Entrance – Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A Major
Heavenly Father, we come into your presence in the name of your Son, our Saviour, The Lord Jesus Christ. In all our dealings we acknowledge you as Sovereign Lord. Be with us here this morning to comfort, to guide our thoughts and to help us as we honour the memory of this good man. Without you, we have nothing to hope for; with you we have nothing to fear. Speak to us we pray, and lift us from anxiety and sadness to the light and peace of your presence.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
On behalf of Margaret, Richard, Nicola and their families, I welcome you here this afternoon. You will never know how much your presence is appreciated. Thank you.
David Thomas was a lovely man. He was kind, thoughtful and was never one to complain, whatever life threw at him. We are here this afternoon to celebrate his wonderful life. David was a man who loved and was loved, by his family, his circle of friends and indeed all who knew him.
He was born one of four children – he had two brothers and one sister- in Pontypridd in 1938, although the family home was in Merthyr. He was born very early and was tiny – His family would often tease hime after he had grown and told him that he would have fitted into a pint pot!
As a tribute to the doctor who delivered him safely, he was given the name Kingsley. His health wasn’t good and indeed he suffered with asthma and chest problems all his life. Yet, David was strong and despite his health problems, he went on to outlive all his siblings.
In his childhood to help with his health problems, he attended Jones West Monmouth School as a boarder – a school famous for educating Sir Anthony Hopkins and five past or current Welsh international rugby players including Terry Cobner, Graham Price and even one England International Mako Vinupola.
The motto of the school is, Believe, Achieve, Succeed, and for David that meant – in true valleys boy fashion – working hard to provide for the family that you love and seeing your wife and children succeed in life, supported by his love and hard work. Both Richard and Nicola went on to achieve degrees at University and David always supported them in the life choices they made.
When David and Margaret started courting he was working as a chemist in Dow Corning and Margaret was back in Merthyr. In the pre-mobile phone days that meant Margaret finding a call box near home and David finding one in Cardiff. Their coordination skills were first class!
David’s main concern in his life was that he was providing a loving home for his wife and family. That, he certainly did – and now he is at rest and that is hard for us to deal with
In the difficult times of life, like this, I often find that human words often fall short of what we would like them to say. But it is then that the Bible speaks to us with power and healing if we will but listen. These words come across nearly thirty centuries. They seem like ancient dusty history to many who look from a distance. But if we will listen, the Bible speaks them to each one of us.
A Time for Everything
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
Those verses from The Bible tell us that death is not an unforeseen accident. It is not something left out of the purpose of our Creator. It is something well planned and necessary in the sight of God. I believe God knew David needed to rest. It is an appointed event that will come to all of us.
David left us peacefully on 16th July 2017 and we are here because of his influence on our lives. For you Margaret, Richard and Nicola – you are his wife and children and your lives were intertwined with his for many years. For others of us who are here, our lives crossed David’s at different times and different contexts in the course of time. No matter what our connection with David, all of our lives have been touched by David’s. We are all a part of the wonderful legacy he left behind.
Hymn – How Great Thou Art
Scripture Reading – Edward Thomas – Psalm 23
Message of comfort and hope
Mr Roger Newberry
There are places in Scripture that are powerful, so deep, that to read them is to experience them. Psalm 23 is one of those places.
Psalm 23 is very personal. There are no references to “we” or “us” or “they,” but only “my” and “me” and “I” and “You.” This is David the psalmist’s testimony, his personal experience with God. It is precious to us. And what makes this a constant friend is that it covers all of life. With simple beauty, it speaks of green pastures and still waters as well as dark valleys and enemies and adversities.
But what comforts us and helps us is the psalm’s confidence. The writer really believes this about God. He has experienced God in these ways, heard His voice, followed His lead, felt His care. All these can be ours if we put our faith and trust in God!
Notice that in the first three verses, David refers to God in the third person: “The Lord is my Shepherd. He makes me lie down . . . He leads me . . . He restores my soul.”
Then, in v 4-5, David shifts, referring to Him in second person: “I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me . . . You anoint my head with oil.” And then, he closes by returning to third person: “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Why does David switch from talking about God with ‘He’ to talking to God with ‘You,’ and why does it happen in v. 4? Why didn’t he just go on to say, ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for He is with me; His rod and His staff, they comfort me’?”
May I suggest that the change “He” to the more intimate “You” happens in v. 4 precisely because it’s there he speaks of the valley he has walked. He has felt the shadows closing in. Verse 4 describes the crisis points in his life. Just the kind of situation Margaret, Richard and Nicola and their families are in as they struggle to come to terms with the loss of one who was so dear to them.
And did you notice? We’re more prone to talk about God when we are in the green pastures and more prone to talk to God when we’re in that difficult place. In the light, we are prone to wander off in pursuit of greener grass. But in the dark, we reach out to God and hold him.
David changes from comments about God to communion with God because during his valley time, he stayed ever so close to the Shepherd, never taking his eyes of Him. He had experienced God in a way there that had ushered him toward intimacy with the Almighty Shepherd.
We have a God who is closer than we think in times of crisis. My prayer this afternoon is that God will imprint His truth in your heart that you will find your confidence in Him rise above the storm clouds in your life, even as David did.
Notice also something else…
First, it’s a shadow. We walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Why is it only a shadow? Because Jesus, our shepherd, has conquered death once for all. Thus, for the Christian, all that remains of death, is a shadow.
Someone once said…. Just like the shadow of a snake cannot bite you, or the shadow of a sword cannot cut you…the shadow of death does not bring fear to those who follow Jesus.
And who better to lead us through the shadow than Jesus—who himself conquered it?
Notice too, that we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. We are just passing through it. We won’t be lost in it forever.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
The rod and the staff were the tools of a shepherd…and they brought great comfort to the sheep.
The shepherd would use the rod to protect the sheep from anyone or anything that would seek to do them harm. The shepherd with his rod, would tap each sheep on the head and count them at the end of each day. He wanted to make sure each sheep was accounted for. If one was missing, he would go and find it.
The staff was a long stick with a hook on the end. If a sheep would wander away and get himself in trouble, the shepherd would lift the sheep out with the hook.
David, following his shepherd God, found comfort in knowing that God would account for him and lift him out of dangerous situations.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
In this final scene of the Psalm, we see that David knows he will dwell with the LORD, his shepherd, forever.
In David’s day, kings would often throw great banquets. And at these banquets, it was customary for the guest of honour to have a huge spread of food laid out before him. He had a special chair at the table. And the king would anoint the guest of honour’s head with a special oil. He would set a cup before him and that cup would never go empty.
Do you remember how just a few verses ago, David was walking through the valley of the shadow of death? Now he is the guest of honour at a great banquet.
And David finishes by saying
Surely goodness and love with follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Someone once said the words, “All this, and heaven too!” That is what David is thinking. He is the guest of honour at the Lord’s table, his cup overflows, and the food is abundant.
And not only that, goodness and love will follow him forever and he will get to dwell in the house of the LORD forever. All this, and heaven too!
No wonder David penned these famous words…and there is no wonder that King David found comfort in them and I trust that our David felt that too!
Jean, my wife, shared with Margaret and I some lovely words of comfort. She had been praying for David for many months and on the day David left us, God gave her these words from Scripture:
Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago… he will swallow up death for ever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces. In that day they will say,
‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.
Isaiah Chapter 25
So, we are praying that the God of David the Psalmist became the God of David the lovely husband, father and grampy we remember this afternoon. So, as we mourn his passing, we can also give thanks for David’s life.
I believe life is a gift from God. As we read earlier, there is a time to be born. God has made us and given us life. God blesses our lives and makes them full of experiences, people and events. Each day is a blessing and a gift from above.
It is my belief that David was a person who was given to us by God. We had the privilege of knowing him and loving him and walking along the path of life with him.
We have stored memories and experiences. These are gifts from God.
But death robs us of much – never again will we have David with us, no longer hear his voice, see his smile – no more of his wonderful sense of humour.
Gone is the chance to tell him things you wanted to say.
Wonder how you will deal with it? With those promises from the Bible.
God gave us something else to help – a great and wonderful gift
The gift of memory – a powerful capacity to remember.
That is what God wants you to do with David.
Remember him as your husband, father, father in law, grandfather and your friend.
Talk about him often. Talk about him with each other and keep his memory alive
Remember the love that he had for family, his willingness to always work hard in order to provide for his family.
The separateness and uniqueness of each human life is the basis of our grief in bereavement. We could look through the whole world and we would find there is no one like David.
He still lives on in our memories. Though no longer a visible part of our lives, he will always remain a member of your family or circle through the influence he has had on you and the special part he played in your lives.
Our biggest gift to him now is to be thankful that he is at peace and to seek to be as strong and courageous in our loss as he was in throughout his life.
May God bless his memory to us.
- I commend to you those memories that are yours alone. The David that you knew was special to you as a family in ways that no one outside could know.
You have every reason to be proud of his life
- I commend to you the love and strength of the church. This church here is a caring community of faith and can be a means of grace in the days and months to come. Margaret, this church will always be here for you and your lovely family!
- I commend you to the care of Almighty God and trust that you will find in Him the strength and peace that He alone can bring.
Hymn: – Ten thousand resaons
Blessing – Isaac Thomas
As you leave today please be aware that the family invite you to St Andrews Major Golf Club to enjoy some refreshments and an opportunity to share memories of dear David.
I hope, like me, you will leave with a feeling of having shared in something very special, for a very special man.
Exit to Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major
The Committal at Cardiff and The Vale Crematorium
On behalf of David’s family, I would like to thank each one of you for being here today… and though today is a very difficult day the scriptures make this promise:
John 14 v 1 – 6
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 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. 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. And where I go you know, and the way you know. “Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way? “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
We see in this wonderful passage some great truths that quiet our hearts even in the most difficult of circumstances.
The first is that peace is promised. Notice the words “Let not you heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me”. Yes, I know that today is a day of sadness – a day of grief, a day of mourning, yet even in the midst of this we can have peace. We can have peace if we have faith. God is here. He is present. Believe in Him – Trust in Him and God will grant you his perfect peace.
The second thought of comfort is that God has prepared a place for us. Did you notice that in John 14, it says; “I go to prepare a place for you.” Jesus has been preparing a place for us for two thousand years. What a place that must be. The verse tells us that it is The Father’s house and that there are many rooms. Isn’t that a comforting thought? God has prepared a place for us.
The next thought of comfort is that God has prepared a way for us to get there. Everyone wants to go to heaven, some just don’t know the way. But Jesus tells us in John 14 that, “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” We are all travellers on a road called life. There are many detours and many side streets. We don’t need to be confused – we don’t need to be lost. All we need to do is follow Jesus. He will show us the way – in fact He is the way. He will lead us and He will guide us. That’s comforting.
He Is Gone
You can shed tears that he is gone
Or you can smile because he has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
Or it can be full of the love that you shared
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what David would want:
Smile, open your eyes, love each other and go on.
Earlier I read
To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose on
earth, a time to be born and a time to die.
Here in this last act, in sorrow but without fear, in love and appreciation, and since it has pleased Almighty God to take to himself the soul of our dear husband, father and friend David, we commit his body to be cremated, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust: in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our frail bodies that they may be conformed to his glorious body, who died, was buried, and rose again for us.
To him be glory for ever
God of all grace, who in Jesus Christ our Saviour brought eternal life: we give you thanks that by his death he has destroyed the power of death and sin, and by his resurrection opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
Help us to know and believe that because He lives, those who trust in him will live also, and that neither death nor life, nor things present, nor things to come, shall be able to separate us from your love, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Almighty God, strengthen those who sorrow; enable them to look to Jesus Christ for encouragement and hope, that through the Scriptures they may place their trust in the God who raised him from the dead.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord show you His kindness and have mercy on you. May the Lord watch over you and give you peace.
Having committed David’s body to be cremated we now say: “Thank you David for all you have given to us in your long and loving life. The good you have shown us, we will show to others.
We have been remembering with love and gratitude of a life that has ended. Let us return to our own homes and to our work, enriched and inspired by these memories of David.
I hope, like me, you will leave with a feeling of having shared in something very special, for a very special man.
Exit: Without You! Acker Bilk.
Roger Newberry -August 2017