Today we remember all those who have passed away over the past two years during the Covid-19 Pandemic whose lives we have been unable to celebrate.
Scripture: John 17: 24-26
In his prayer to God Jesus says, “I know you, and they know that you have sent me.” And why did God send Jesus to us? To show us a better way to love. Today we remember those members of our community of faith who have passed away over the past two years during the Covid-19 pandemic. Those members whose lives we didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate and remember at the time of their passing. Today, as a community of faith, we pause, and we reflect on the lives of twenty-one people whose lives impacted ours. Today we pray and give thanks that for them the journey is over, the pain is ended, and they are at rest.
To be human is to know, intimately, the curve of life which takes us from birth through to death. We find references to death in many places of scripture because it is the inescapable part of being human. In Ecclesiastes 3 we read, “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die.”
A time to be born and a time to die, and a time for all that comes in between. We give thanks for the message we have from Jesus, that he continues to make God known and that he shares God’s love with us. At each moment as we journey through life, the good, and the bad, God’s love is made known to us through the person of Jesus Christ and his life-giving message of love and grace.
As Christians this is where we place our hope. That God loves us and that through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus there is a place for us. That a room has been prepared for us. That we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
This is the promise we trust in and as part of that promise we do our part in the here and now to see that God’s will is done, on Earth as it is in heaven. We sing songs of joy, lifting our voices in praise. We do work with our hands, tilling the earth, building communities that reflect God’s love. We hear the music of the heart; we celebrate the moments of laughter just as we embrace one another in the moments of sorrow.
In 1st Thessalonians 4 Paul writes, “we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-14).
We grieve with hope. We remember those who have been called home fondly and we rest secure in the promises we have from Christ Jesus. That through Jesus we have come to know God and God’s indescribable love. And that at the end of days, the end of all things we will rest in that love.
As followers of Jesus, we acknowledge that death is a temporary parting. While we are apart, we know anguish, regret, and longing. But one day it will end with a joyful reunion. We remember those who have come before us who have now been called home. Those who have crossed over the Jordan and are at peace. It is important that we remember. That we bear witness to their lives. To hold up all that was in good in them and allow that to continue to flourish. Through their memory we receive a blessing. By honouring the dead their faithfulness becomes our faithfulness.
In her poem Let Me Go Christina Rossetti writes:
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not for long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that once we shared
Miss me, but let me go.
For this is a journey we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all part of the master plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know.
Laugh at all the things we used to do
Miss me, but let me go.
Each must go alone, a step on the road to home.
We dearly miss those who have now departed. Though they went alone, as we all must, they are not alone now. They form that great cloud of witnesses in the sky. Their hand has slipped from ours and been embraced by God’s.
We honour and cherish the memories; we give thanks for the friendships we have enjoyed. We pray that our lives might bear witness to theirs. We stand strong in our faith and we put our hope in God, where we receive love, mercy, and grace.
And we remember that death is not the end of our story. That through faith in Christ Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life we too will find our way to that place which has been set aside for us. Until that time we continue to make God’s love known to all. Amen.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Cobourg is part of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The congregation was established in 1833 and continues to serve the community.
St. Andrew’s supports the gathering of community agencies, providing space for the Affordable Housing Committee. Rev. Ellis’ voice is key in advocating for improvements in awareness, empathy and action on key determinants such as housing, income and food security.
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