Talitha was born prematurely (at 23 weeks) on September 26th, 1995. She lived for just 1 hour and 16 minutes. Her name is Aramaic, meaning "little girl", and is found in Mark's account of how Jesus raised Jairus' daughter from the dead. To find out more, please read on!
|While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus,
the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," they said. "Why bother
the teacher any more?" Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue
ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe." He did not let anyone follow him
except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the
home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying
and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, "Why all this commotion
and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child's father and mother and the
disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her
by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum!" (which means, "Little girl,
I say to you, get up!"). Immediately the girl stood up and walked around
(she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.
|Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep,
or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus
died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those
who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell
you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord,
will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself
will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the
archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will
rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be cuaght
up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will
be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18(NIV)
|Phil and Rachel thank all who have expressed their love and support
at this time of bereavement. In particular they wish to thank their family,
and the pastor and friends at Deeside Evangelical Christian Church
for their prayers, help and encouragement; and also the midwives,
doctors and other staff who cared for them and Talitha at the Glan Clwyd
General Hospital. Those who feel inclined to make a donation to a worthy
cause in memory of Talitha, are encouraged to support the work of
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
TIMOTHY DUDLEY-SMITH w. 1961
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
His purposes will ripen fast,
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
WILLIAM COWPER, 1731-1800
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He has said,
You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
In every condition - in sickness, in health,
"Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed;
"When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
"E'en down to old age, all my people shall prove
"The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
KIRKHAM in GADSBY'S HYMNS, 1838
I want to direct your attention to Psalm 8 for a little while this morning. I have three themes I want to bring to you, and I hope that as we think about this psalm together, that you will see why the Christian has such a sure hope in the face of death.
The psalm begins with my first theme - it states it very beautifully!
"O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens."
David is contemplating the wonder of God - the glory of God - the majesty of God.
Maybe David is thinking of the experience of seeing the night sky. I know that Phil and the boys love the night sky.
Of course - David would have seen that night sky unhindered by the glow of street lamps, car headlights and the other things that tend to swamp out the stars.
And as he looked up, he thought of the God whom "the heavens cannot contain".
God. The eternal one. The self-existent one. He declared his name, "I am". So much greater than the physical, material world about us that David can say "You have set your glory above the heavens."
God the creator, God the sustainer. The one who made all things and the one who maintains all things in existence.
How great God is!
It is important at all times to look up. It is doubly important in times of trouble and difficulty to look up. It is a constant theme of the Bible. "I lift my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth"
You might think that in the context of thinking of the greatness of God's creation,and the eternity of God, that we - men and women, boys and girls - would be shown to have no significance at all. This is not what David says.
He says: 2 From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. 3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
Great though the heavens are, vast as the sun, moon and stars are, they cannot adequately express the majesty of God.
For God's glory is only really understood to any extent by mankind - did you notice what David said? "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise."
That is my second theme - the dignity of man.
You see - to understand what you are you must look up. And when you do you are confronted by two things.
The smallness of man - and yet the dignity of man.
If the sun, moon and stars show the greatness of God, they remind us of our smallness, too. The vastness of the distances of space. The way that the heavens endure through all generations. What are we, in comparison to that?
All our lives are fleeting, aren't they..
Yet because of our unique position in creation, mankind has unique dignity.
We are made in God's image. We are made for God. David declares "you have made him a little lower than God, crowned with glory and honour"
That is what man is. He is not an elevated ape. He is not just another animal. He is not just a complex biochemical machine.
Man is made like God, a little lower than God, and we only understand ourselves when we look up! When I know what God is like, I begin to understand what man is like!
People make a great mistake when they look down at the animal kingdom and think that by doing that they can understand man. Man shares much in common with the animal kingdom - but there is a great discontinuity, too. Because we are made a little lower than God - in his image, and for relationship with him.
That is why David goes on to say: 6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: 7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
As God's viceroy we are to guard his creation.
We only understand ourselves when we see ourselves in relation to God - when we look up.
Now then - what I have said has direct relevance to us this morning.
We are met on a sad occasion. Why is it sad?
Because although Talitha's time with us was brief yet it was significant.
She was important for what Phil and Rachel felt for her. That is something important. God entrusted her to them for a little while, and they loved her.
But that isn't the MAIN reason for her significance.
She was just a little girl - but she then was a *little girl*. What C.S.Lewis would have called a "daughter of Eve".
Talitha was made in the image of God - and so she is not a piece of tissue to be discarded and forgotten as soon as possible.
And in her brief life she has expressed that image of God.
And so we meet to acknowledge her, to thank God for her, to grieve for her, and to commit her into the hands of the one who gave her - and who has taken her to be with himself now.
To understand my third theme we have to see how the Lord Jesus Christ read and understood this psalm.
Because he quoted this psalm and said that it spoke of him.
You can find that in Matthew's gospel - where Jesus is praised by little children - and he accepted their praise because he was God - God come into the world as a man.
We looked up and saw a little of the majesty of God. We looked up and began to understand the significance of man. When we look up and begin to think about the God-man, Jesus Christ, then we find a theme that is *really* worth thinking about.
God does not exist in simple unity - he exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and the Bible teaches that God sent his Son - the eternal Son of God, whom the heavens cannot contain - into the world.
He was made man. He came and lived a perfect life, then died a dreadful death on the cross. He did that on our behalf, taking God's judgement for all that we have done wrong, so that we might be forgiven and live with him for ever.
David declared - 3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
God did not just think of us, he did not just care for us -
He sent his own Son to die for us so that we might live together with him for ever.
That is the basis of the Christian's hope - on the yellow inserts you will find 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
Do you have this confidence?
Can you be reminded of the brevity of your life and yet know a glorious hope and confidence?
Phil and Rachel - you have already found that real comfort is not found in denying what has happened. You had a daughter, a sister for your boys, and she has fallen asleep.
But you have also found that the real significance of what has happened is not just located in your pain and grief.
The real significance of what has happened - and real help and comfort too - comes when we look up.
To see the glory and majesty of God -
To see the dignity and worth of this little girl, Talitha.
To see the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ - the saviour who one day will return to this sad world and wake us all from our sleep.
When all Your mercies, O my God,
JOSEPH ADDISON, 1672-1719
|Hynm 5 (at the graveside)
How good is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend:
His love is as great as His power,
And knows neither measure nor end!
'Tis Jesus, the First and theLlast,
JOSEPH HART, 1712-1768
We would like to develop this page in future, but in the meantime would like to thank David and Karen Buttle for inspiring us to put Talitha's Page on the WWW, and would recommend Mercy's Page and the Hannah's Prayer site for further reading.