Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Susan Metcalf Memorial Service sermon

Today we celebrated our thanks for the life of our beloved, Susan Metcalf. Here is my sermon.

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En el nombre del Dios: Padre, Hijo, y Espiritu Santo. Amen.

When Christians talk about death, we talk about being reconciled to God in heaven. What do we mean by that?

To reconcile is to bring back together that which had been separated.
We are reconciled to God through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. For us, then, the divine and the human have been brought back together in unity of spirit. We can’t see our sister Susan now, but we know she is with God in unity of being.

Here’s what we know… We also know that God is eternal… we know that God is love… and therefore, that love never dies, It’s eternal. So while we can’t see Susan or hear her voice or be in her presence in the same way we know that the love between her and us lives, even though we know that the next life is beyond our ability to comprehend; but we aren’t asked to comprehend it. What we can do is believe.

We can believe the promises of God, fulfilled in Jesus Christ, are true. Wecan believe the promises like: the love of God is steadfast and never ceases; and God comforts those who mourn, giving them a garland instead of ashes which means a cause to rejoice rather than to be in despair.

We grieve right now because we love; and when a love we cherish is no longer present with us, we grieve,and we experience a sense of emptiness like nothing else we’ve ever known. Love is like that. It’s beautiful, complicated, challenging, exhilarating, and comforting – and when we lose someone we love, it’s devastating.

It may sound strange, but that’s something to celebrate. Here’s why: we celebrate because we have known a love so true, that the loss of it devastates us.

So let your tears flow today. These are living waters made of love.

Life will continually hand us opportunities to love and challenges that we must faithfully endure. Thankfully, we have God and we have one another to celebrate each love we know together and to accompany us through the challenges.

Losing a love we cherish makes our Savior’s sacrifice for our salvation that much clearer. Our Good Shepherd willingly laid down his life out of love for us. He suffered betrayal, an unjust trial, and an unfair execution – because he knew that the love of God could and would redeem the world – for all time and for all persons – all. And so he made that sacrifice.

And it did, didn’t it? That did redeem the world. We call it the resurrection. So now we are people of the resurrection and our call is to live love – to love God, and to love one another as Christ loved us.

Today, as we gather to remember the love that walked the earth whom we knew as Susan, we remember these promises. Susan was a gentle, humble woman, whose life demonstrated what sacrificial love looks like.

I didn’t’ have the grace and pleasure to know Susan, but many of you did. And thank you for sharing your stories with me so that I could know her as we hand her faithfully back to God. Here’s what I’ve learned: Susan was a generous giver and the evidence of that is all over St. David’s here. She was the clerk of the vestry (which meant she took all the notes of the meetings. She was the one who finished the bannister on all those steps going up there as this new parish hall was built. She also painted most of this parish hall – the walls. Her gift to this church will seed a new library which will nurture our spiritual growth.

Suze, as she was known here, is reconciled to God in a whole new way. She’s in a place and a state where there is no thing and no one to fear.

Rest in peace, dear Suze, in the paradise of God. Glorify God with your love and service in heaven now, and hold us in your loving prayers until we meet again. Amen.

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