Summary: Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Evelyn Roske Romans 8:31-39 January 23, 2002
Rev. Roger Haugen
Who shall separate us from the love of God? As Christians we declare that there is nothing in all creation which will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Those hopeful words from Paul become the focus of our attention as we gather in grateful praise for the life of Evelyn Roske. And we are grateful. Beyond your feelings of sorrow are feeling of gratefulness for having known her, for having experienced her kindness and love that was so much a part of who she was.
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are here to embrace the Roske family as they mourn her death. But we have also come with them to listen to the Gospel. At times such as these, when we can be overwhelmed by our emotions, it is important to hear the words of faith, words which have sustained many through the good and hard times of life. We turn to Paul’s words of comfort which assure us that there is nothing - not hardship, nor poverty, nor danger, nor the unknown, nor death itself - nothing in all creation that will ever be able to sever our relationship with God in Christ. Nothing can separate us from God’s love.
God’s love surrounded Evelyn from the day she was baptized. This was the love out of which her move for all those around her arose. God’s love was the source of Evelyn’s hope and is the source of our hope today.
So we gather today, in the midst of our grief, to rejoice in the victory our Lord has granted Evelyn. Though she was not great as the world counts greatness, she was great in that she loved and was loved. Now she is with her Saviour, free from all that bound her on this earth. Now she is without pain or suffering, without the aspects of old age that limited what she could do. Now she is at peace and rest, surrounded by the love of God.
But what was true for Evelyn is also true for us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. ". . . there is nothing in death or life, in the world as it is or the world as it shall be, nothing in all creation that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
We have experienced God’s love in this place today as it has surrounded us, and it will accompany us as we leave to resume our daily routines. God promises to go with us, encouraging us through loved ones and friends and by sending the Holy Spirit to minister to us and provide us with strength, comfort and hope, day by day. God’s grace gives us a sure footing for the living out of our days, regardless of what happens. And surrounded by Christ’s love we can look forward to the future. No matter what tomorrow brings -- God’s love will be there to lean on, to rest in, to build on.
As this knowledge of God’s love gives peace of mind at the time of death it also gives comfort for life. For there is nothing - not even death - that can keep God’s love from reaching us and ministering to our needs.
Who can separate us from the love of God? Nothing in all Creation! That is why we come to this place of worship in our grief. Here we thank and praise our God for the life of Evelyn and for the New Life, Eternal life, of which she has been assured. And we praise God for the victory which is ours in Christ Jesus as we encourage one another with the Good news that, "Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."