Eulogy for Kenneth Hodgkins

30 May 2015

The Rev. Todd R. Goddard

 

Prayer.

 

No one is more surprised by this moment than is Ken.

I don't know how many times Ken assured me he was going to hell,

But I checked.

He isn't there.

For those who knew Ken well,

Ken's sarcasm will come as no surprise.

For those who didn't know Ken well,

You have missed a great friend.

 

Ken was a faithful parishioner of Zion,

a dear friend,

a complex person,

and a child of God.

I am thankful to God that Ken was a part of my life

And a part of your lives, too.

 

I give thanks to God for Ken and his faithfulness as a son of Zion.

Ken was in worship nearly every Sunday.

He made the coffee,

loved the banter with the guys at the table in the side room,

really enjoyed greeting everyone

(especially the grandchildren),

and loved to stir the pot with the occasional barb, jab, or joke.

We shared the back row - the bass row - in the choir,

driving Deb nuts by goofing off or not paying attention.

Deb and Ken wacked each other at key points in each anthem

as a reminder to pay attention,

or, simply because it felt like the right thing to do in the moment.

 

When taking up the offering,

he’d often linger at the pew if he thought you hadn’t put in enough.

Ken could get away with that here at Zion,

because we all knew him so well.

Ken also knew that we accepted him just the way he was,

the good and bad, and everything in-between.

 

I’ve known Ken long enough to appreciate the fact

that he was more than just one of the sheep of my parish,

he was truly a friend.

I am thankful to God for every friend I have.

And I am thankful to God that He placed Ken in my life.

Only a friend can set in the pew during my sermon

and do the hand motions to rap it up

about 3 minutes into every 20 minute message.

He could give it,

and I gave it right back to him,

telling him he owed me a push-up for every minute

the worship service ran under an hour.

We both knew sarcasm would never divide us.

He also knew by my silence when he went too far.

 

Ken joined my boys and I on road trips many years

to see the Buffalo Sabres play.

We went to Pittsburg, Philadelphia, Newark, and Boston.

He was most proud of Boston, of course,

and of meeting his brother, Neil, and his family.

We had a lot of fun on those trips,

and great memories will serve as blessings

to my sons and I

all of our days.

 

Ken was a complex person.

Most of us knew his short comings,

so they need not be repeated here.

Allow me to say briefly

that Ken didn’t have an easy path or a silver spoon.

Ken got kicked by life numerous times.

Some experiences he shared with me,

others, I’m confident, he kept quietly to himself.

Life doesn’t justify our actions,

but, in Ken’s case,

we should all be reminded to be slow to judgment.

 

I’m thankful to God that Ken knew that

in spite of his kidding,

his exaggerated irreverence,

and his numerous flaws,

there was room at the altar table for him,

because there was room for both of us.

We are equally worthy to gather round the throne of God,

to feast at the heavenly banquet,

to be washed clean of our sins,

and to be welcomed with open arms

into God’s eternal kingdom.

 

If Ken had known that I’d be into the third page of his eulogy,

he roll his eyes and tell me to wrap it up.

So, I end by saying:

Sad.

Yes, we are terribly sad that Ken is now absent.

Yet, we are people of faith:

confident that one day,

relationships will be restored,

healing will be complete,

the redemption and salvation offered by the blood of Christ

will one day

welcome us all home.

Amen.