Letters to the Family of God

by Joe Franzone | April 12, 2023 | Pastor's Blog

Family of God - Website (600 × 282 px)

April 12, 2023

Dear friends.


If you haven’t heard, my father, Ernest Franzone, passed away on Thursday, March 23rd, at 5:50 AM. By God’s grace and mercy, I was there. I wanted to be, prayed I would be, and was.


To the leaders and family of West Cohasset Chapel, there are not enough words to express my gratitude for the many ways you cared for Nicole and me, prayed for my family, and provided for us specifically these past few weeks. I will never forget it. Every justifiable thing I thought I might need during this time, I received, and I thank God, and I thank God for you.


I was hoping to share some part of my father's passing with you and chose my opening remarks from his memorial service.


From the Gospel of John chapter eleven.


Jesus said. I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (Vs.13)

Good morning.


On behalf of my sisters and brothers, it is my privilege, to thank and warmly welcome you to this memorial service for our Father Ernest Franzone. We are here, together, in God's presence, to praise God, receive His love, and honor a remarkable person.


For some of us, He was our father; for others, He was your grandfather; still others, great-grandfather; and for others, a dear friend.


I am deeply sorry that we are here together in this way. My father lived so long and so well; it seemed like he could go on forever. However, I cannot tell you how much comfort and security it brings me now to be a Christian and to know my father was also a Christian. And to be assured that this day comes with promises from God that are not beyond His power and in keeping with His great love for fallen people like us.


I believe my father was a man of incredible understanding. Understanding from the scriptures is a gift from God to see beyond the obvious, to see past the mere surface of things, to see past only ourselves, and then to decide accordingly.


I believe this for three reasons.


First, in October of last year, He came close to dying. Immediately after his recovery, he asked for a family Zoom session. It was a wonderful evening. He had full command of himself and wanted us to know he was well. Here are a few of the things he said to us that night.

I think God wanted to teach Ernie something. He’s a good teacher. He did a perfect job.


My job in life is to be thankful.


You’ve got to believe in God and His Son, Jesus Christ.


If I had any doubts, they are gone.

This was an exact moment wherein he chose to say what we all needed to hear, namely this, he was right with God, through Christ alone.


Second, his understanding was also seen in the fact that my father was a tremendous fan of the human race. He had friends at the age of 94, from every age and stage in life, different backgrounds, different occupations and stations in life, and friends with those of different sexual orientations as well. And loved ones, this is what it means to be fully human.


Jesus loved the world. He was sent to serve it, not condemn it. He was a friend of sinners; He literally gave His life up for them. My father, like His savior, was a friend of sinners because he understood he was a sinner too.


You would have to work to the point of exhaustion to be Dad’s enemy. You simply needed to exist to be his friend.


Finally, no life is perfect. Look hard enough, and you will find the flaws of every person, beginning with myself. What has been said in days past is true: The best of men and women are men and women at best. My father understood this. However, I am confident that everyone in this room, in some way, benefited from the very fact my father lived. That his life was heading in the right direction, it was hitched tightly to Jesus Christ, and the longer he lived, the more he became like him, to the praise of God’s glorious grace.


These are the words of Christ from the Gospel of John chapters six and one.

Jesus said. I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me. And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those He has given me but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day.


The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

If you would please pray with me.


God and Father, every good and perfect gift comes from You—and Ernest Franzone, my father, was a gift.


And we need Your help. May Your grace abound to his family and friends as they grieve.


Please open our eyes because we cannot do anything without Your help, and we need Your help to understand that death, for the Christian, is not the final word. In life and in death, we belong to You, and the end of this life is not the end of life, simply the beginning of the better and forever life.


Therefore Father, help us all to honestly understand "Christ died for sins" is the greatest sentence anyone, anywhere, from any place, can ever know, believe, and build a life on.


Father's death is an enemy. It is not natural, it is not a friend, but You have promised, because of Christ's death, one day, death will die. And we long for that day. Until then, please send help, and hope from heaven to all of us now, by Your Spirit and for Jesus' sake. Amen.


May God bless you with more than you need, for Jesus’ sake.


Thank you sincerely for reading this letter. If you are wondering how I am doing. One answer is I feel more human than I ever have before. I am glad about this. Jesus is the perfect human. Hopefully, I will become more like Him- it is promised. (Romans 8:29)



Joe Franzone

P.S.  Here is a song I discovered one day before my father’s death. If you would like to listen, please click on the link.  My Way Home. I thought it was fitting.