Alice Queen Cox Faith Hope and Love this is the eulogy for my Mama Cox and was written by Tom Cox (my brother) in 2001 for her funeral and used with his permission.
1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Alice Queen Cox was a remarkable lady…in my unbiased opinion! If you were to try and describe her with one sentence, you could say, “She was a colorful character who had a great deal of character.” You can’t say that about many people. She was quite a lady.
She will be dearly missed by those who called her “Sister”, “Mother”, “Mama” or “Friend.” Alice Cox made her community a better place in which to live. She was a pillar of her church (Martin Christian Church). She was the matriarch of her family. You don’t replace people like her. It won’t be easy to say “Goodbye” to this loved one. Therefore, we need to ask God to help us through our time of mourning.
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, we come to you today with heavy hearts. We ask that you would comfort us now through your Holy Spirit. Please remind us of the many promises of in your word that are true even as we walk through this valley where the shadow of death is so very real. Help us to focus on Jesus and the power of his resurrection. Thank you for sending your son to die in our place so that we might have eternal life in heaven with you. Lord, we also ask that you bring to our minds precious memories we share of this loved one whose life we celebrate today. Let there be laughter mixed with our tears of joy in the midst of our sadness. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Let’s use 1 Corinthians 13:13 as an outline for our thoughts today.
Alice Queen Cox was a woman of faith. She believed in the God of the Bible, a God who created all things. She believed in a God who desires to have an intimate relationship with every single human being. She believed in a God who sent his son Jesus to die on a cross to pay for our sins so that we could have a relationship with God (John 3:16). Mama believed that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). She was not ashamed of the Gospel! She believed that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). Alice Cox was a good woman, but she realized that no one was good enough to get to Heaven based on their own merit (Romans 3:23). She knew that we were saved by the grace of God through our own faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Mama’s faith was seen in many ways. She was the treasurer of her church for many years. She provided meals for the preachers. She never missed a church service. One time she even went to church on Saturday. She got up that morning and got dressed for church. Mama was very aggravated at Andy (another brother) because he was mowing the churchyard on Sunday morning when people would be arriving soon. She went over to the church and waited for people to show up, but nobody came. Finally, Mama went outside and asked Andy what day it was. He said, “It’s Saturday, Mama.” She said, “Don’t you lie to me!”
Mama also prepared the communion each Sunday for her church. One Sunday, when she began to prepare the trays she realized she didn’t have any grape juice. There was no time to go buy any juice, and she didn’t know what to do. She thought about grape Kool-Aid, but she didn’t have any of that either. Finally, she took grape jelly and watered it down.
Another Sunday, the time came in the church service for communion. The servers gathered around the table and prayed. But when they lifted the lids from the trays, they discovered them to be empty! Mama had forgotten to prepare the communion, but she had brought the empty trays over to church!
Mama enjoyed telling these, and other, funny stories about herself. There was nothing pretentious about her. She didn’t try to make herself out to be any better than what she was. That’s how it is with people of faith. They do the best they can, but they realize that their best isn’t good enough. We often fall short, and we have to trust God to pick us up and cover over our sins. That’s what faith is all about, and Alice Cox was a woman of faith.
Mama was also a woman with a lot of hope. Life was not always easy for her. Other people might have given up hope and settled for less, but not Alice Cox. She had a vision for a better life for herself and her young boys. Bravely she set out, overcoming adversity along the way. She returned to her people and settled down to become an important part of the Quick’s Run community. As a single mother, she raised her boys to become successful, God-fearing citizens. She got a job as a teacher, where, for decades she instilled hope in the minds of countless young people in Lewis County. She went back to school and eventually earned her degree. She continued to substitute teach even after her retirement. Alice Cox was always looking ahead to a better life for herself, her family and her community. She truly was a woman of great hope.
Let us be reminded that there is a difference between the way we understand the word “hope” today and the way the word was used in the days when the Bible was written. When we say that we “hope” for something, there is some doubt as to whether or not we will actually get what we hope for. Not so in the Bible! The first-century use of the word “hope” gave a sense of certainty, especially when we consider the hope we have because of our faith in Jesus. Those who have trusted Christ for their salvation have no doubt whatsoever that we have a home waiting for us in heaven. Let us consider what Romans 5:1-5 says: “Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
What a wonderful promise we see in the Scripture! Our hope in God will never disappoint us! Even in our sufferings, we can rejoice! We know there are better things in store for us if we put our hope in God. The assurance of a home in heaven gives us great joy even in this life. We are already enjoying the benefits of the hope we have in Jesus!
Glen Wheeler’s wife passed away a few years ago. Glen was reminiscing with a friend, and he said, “You know, it’s the little things I miss; like when she would say, out of the blue, for no reason at all, “You’re a good man, Glen Wheeler!” Another thing Glen missed was something his wife would say after supper. Sometimes, as she was clearing the dishes, she would say, “Hold on to your fork!” That meant that his wife fixed dessert. He knew then that the best was yet to come! What God is saying to those of us that have faith in Jesus is this — “Hold on to your fork! The best is yet to come!”
This old hymn says it well:
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand.
Not only was she a woman of faith and hope, Alice Cox was a woman of love. Jesus says that the two greatest commandments have to do with love. The first is that we love God with all our heart, mind and soul. The second is that we love our neighbor. Everything that we should do can fit into those two categories: Loving God and loving people (Matthew 22:34-40).
Certainly, we can say Mama loved God. She didn’t have the best singing voice, but she willingly used her voice to praise the lord.
Her love for the Lord can also be seen in her obedience to him. Jesus says, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). Alice Cox lived her life studying the commands of Jesus and putting them into practice. Her love for God was evident, and it serves as a good example for us.
She loved God because he first loved us. Since God sent his son to die for us, how could we not love him in return?
Not only did she love God, she also loved people. Love is at the top of the list of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus says, “This is my command: Love one another.”
Mama admitted that she wasn’t one to go overboard with hugs and kisses. But her love was seen not only in these displays of affection. Her love for people was seen in what she did to help people. One time she bought a pair of shoes for a needy boy in the community. She was concerned that the parents might be offended. Her fears were relieved when the family sent word that the boy’s brother could use a pair of shoes too!
She was always helping people. I wonder how many people over the years, borrowed Mama’s car to take their driver’s license? Eventually, after many years of driving, she even got her own driver’s license! But she was always showing her love by helping people!
We certainly have a lot of loving memories as a family. I can remember some of the Christmases we celebrated in the old house. But I remember better the ones we had in the later years. It’s ironic that, as the family grew, we had less space for our holiday get-togethers. I wonder what the record was for Christmas attendance at Mama’s trailer?(53 people) We all have to agree that you couldn’t have gotten more love into that house if you had used a shoehorn!
We are all blessed to have the spiritual influence of Alice Queen Cox in our lives. Her faith, her hope, and her love will live on, even now that she has passed away. But along with these blessings come responsibilities. It is our duty to pass along to the next generation the spiritual truths that we have received. It is our responsibility to do our best to exhibit faith, hope, and love in our lives so that we can be blessings to others, just as Alice Cox has been a blessing to us.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
PRAYER— Dear Lord above, we thank you for the life of this loved one. Thank you for her strength, her wisdom, her character, and her perseverance. Thank you for the example she set for us. Thank you for the spiritual legacy she leaves behind. Help us to continue in the faith, as she would have us to do. Lord, comfort us through your Holy Spirit and help us as we lean on one another today and in the days to come. We pray these things in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.