For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Gentle people, who are called beloved by God, this ritual space marks a place where we have remembered those who have died. We have remembered them presented them before God and this gathered community, as witness to the reality that they are not forgotten,by God or by us. ElsewhereThe writer of Hebrews reminds us of a reality that we ‘all are destined to die once’, and we know this to be too true. Their deeds are as history, their work is done, and someday, your work will be done, and my deeds will be as history. What then of a remembrance? What then of a meaning of remembrance when we too will die. In a hundred years, will these names, these lives be remembered? In a thousand? Will they be lost, forgotten? Will we?
There is a mistaken aphorism is calling our dead “lost”, for its as if we believe that they are like a lost cellphone, lost Car keys. You have not lost your loved ones- lost means that if only you look in those couch cushions once more, check that junk drawer on the bedside table, maybe just maybe they may return again.
You have deeply loved, you continue to deeply love, you feel grief because you deeply love, anger out of your deep love.
When you too have died, who then will remember? God, in Gods unabridgeable love. Our dead are not “lost”, our dead are present in the love of God in Christ Jesus and can never be separated from that love.
That Jesus is the Christ, the messiah, this means that His life and death meant something, fundamentally changed the very strictures of the universe, demonstrating once for all the that god’s love can never be abridged. gods love cannot be separated from us by war and destruction, not by governments, not by our own bad choices and sinfulness, not by violence done to us, not by anything.
Our dead are remembered now, and not in name alone. The world is different because each of these people lived in it. You have been touched by each of these lives- when you deeply love someone, you cannot help but be changed by them.
So too, because of Gods deep love for us, mediated by Christ, God cannot help but be changed. Our dead are not forgotten, but live on with God, in the love and memory of God.
What then shall we do? Gentle people, called, beloved, keep on living, knowing that you are loved, even now, by God that you cannot be separated from. Be present to one another, hold the hand of the dying, hold the squally newborn just learning to speak, teach your children the wisdom passed down to you through the ages, fight against the oppressive rulers and systemic powers of this world, share your stories with all who would hear, love God with everything you got and then some, and live, live to remember and love deeply and be changed anew.
Please say this with me: (from the bulletin)
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen