THE word celebration sat atop the order of service pamphlet for the thanksgiving of the lives of David and Carol Emert.
Presciently Mr Emert had insisted upon it the year previously while speaking to his good friend, and today, the leader of his and his wife's farewell Rev Robert Griffith.
"He said he wanted it to be a celebration of all the wonderful things the Lord has given (him) in his life," daughter Lisa Hodgson recounted.
Music of celebration rang out across the church, along with words like faith, love, mercy, giving, and grace, terms which embodied their commitment to their faith, their family and their community.
It was a faith their community repaid as they filled the St James Anglican Church in Maclean to pay tribute to the couple who were tragically killed in a crash on the Pacific Highway on December 11.
The couple moved to the Northern Rivers to a macadamia plantation at Ashby and retired to another property there before relocating to Wooloweyah where they spent their final years.
They both passionately responded to their calling to serve God and his people, David committing to various programs through his church and the Clarence Combined Churches Ministry, while Carol acted as a musical director and regional coordinator for both the Bible Institute and Crossroads prison ministry.
Son Christopher called his parents' 50-year journey together not a love story, but a love song, and said he would remember them not for what they did, but for the love song they sung to him, his family, and his community.
The crowd heard words from a long line of family and community members whose lives had been touched by the pair.
Each spoke again using the familiar words of faith, mercy, love and grace.
The grace and compassion that the loving couple passed down to others was no more evident than when, in the midst of their grief, the family offered a prayer for the safe keeping of the other family involved in the collision.
The final words of the ceremony, though, belonged to the late David Emert, who for one last time, put his God at the forefront of his life.
"I would like to close this celebration of love and joy for the Lord on a quieter note," his words read on the Order of Service.
"I really want people leaving with a sense of God in their hearts."