Summary: there is hope in our grief as we remember loved ones
Service of Memories sermon
One of the greatest gifts that God has given us is the Gift of Memories
And all of you here today have come to Church to remember a loved one
We treasure the memory of those times that we have had together.
Times of joy, times of sorrow, times of sadness and times of fun
The Bible is a book of memories too.
Memories about God and about his chosen people in different times of life.
The writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes wrote about these different times of life:
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Today is a time of mourning – a time where some of you will simply want to weep, as an expression of your mourning. And that is perfectly right to do
Others of you will have gone through that mourning process and will be in a time of mending - a time when you have come to terms in part with a grief that will probably never fully go away
I came across this poem by Clare Capron
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away
The dearest objects of our earthly love
Now they are safe in His almighty keeping
Safe in the Home prepared by Him above
Neither could we have faced the final parting
But for His consolation deep and strong
He came to find and heal the brokenhearted
To even change their grief to song
It is as we accept the way of trial
Relinquish to him what we hold most dear
That He “the God of comfort” and of mercies
Will ever draw us to Himself more near
He will enrich our lives beyond expecting
Just by the very things He takes away
And will enable us to be a means of comfort
To others in distress one future day.
(based on 2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
Today is also a time for thanksgiving – as you remember with joy the good things you had together – and that too is an important part of the grieving process
And for many of us we often ask the question: “What happens after death?”
Jesus’ great encouragement to us is that death is not the end of the road for a Christian.
It is the beginning a new life – a perfect life – a life full of the presence of God with no more evil.
St John the Divine, in the book of Revelation describes what heaven is like:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying “Now the dwelling of God is with men and he will live with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things is passed away.”
Our grief as Christians is not to be a grief without hope.
St Paul in our reading today said this:
13And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer.
First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word.
14Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus. (1 Thess. 4:13-14)
The Christian hope is this – that we are on a spiritual journey whose destination is not here on earth - but in Paradise with Jesus.
The entry to this wonderful destination is simply the accepting of Jesus’ atoning death on the Cross and a commitment to follow Christ while we are here on earth.
Where you spend eternity is based on the choices you make while you are here on