Thursday, 17 April 2008

A Funeral Sermon on the Importance of Relationships with reference to Ecclesiastes 3 and John 14: for Violet Owston

Why are we all here this afternoon? Because we all had either a relationship with Violet or a relationship with a member of her family.

What's a relationship? A relationship is a state of connectedness between people (especially an emotional connection). We're all here because of an emotional connection with Violet or with a member of her family.

Relationships are precious; the most important things in our lives. We are born to be in relationships. If a new born baby does not immediately experience a loving relationship from someone, preferably his parents, as soon as she is born, that baby will not thrive.

We heard The Old Rugged Cross earlier: about the ultimate symbol of a relationship wherein one gives his life for others.

Much of what we've just heard read from the Bible is the language of relationship. In the passage from Ecclesiastes we heard of times to rebuild, to cry, to laugh, to grieve, to dance, to embrace, to mend, to be quiet, to speak up, to love, to hate, for war and for peace; they all happen in relationships. We all do those things because of the relationships in our lives, good or bad, joyful or sad, healthy or broken.

What Robin and Cindy shared about their grandmother, was lovingly written out of the relationships they and their mothers enjoyed with Violet.

She had qualitites which grew strong relationships...using powerful relationship builders like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This family exists because of the relationship between Violet and Dick.

Why do you think that Jesus said, “Don't be troubled,” in the passage from John? Because he had a loving relationship with the people he was talking to. He had an emotional connection with them, just as we have with Violet. He didn't want them to worry. He wanted to reassure them and encourage them by telling them that there are many rooms in His Father's heavenly home, that He, Jesus, was going on ahead of them to prepare places for them in that heavenly home, and when everything is ready, He would come and get them so they will always be with Him where He is. Jesus wanted the relationships with his disciples to continue because he loved them.

The Bible was written so that we can know that we also are loved by Jesus. That Jesus wants to be in relationship with each one of us, to have a rich emotional connection with us so that we, too, will not have to troubled and can know that there can be one of those rooms for us, too.

How do we agree to be in such a relationship with Him? He told us how. “Trust (or believe) in God” and “trust in me,” he said. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” No one can have one of those rooms without being in relationship with God through Jesus.

How do you develop a relationship? Spend time with one another; give and receive affection. A relationship with God is developed by spending time with Jesus. Where is He to be found? In His Church, in the Bible and in His followers.

Because of the relationship we enjoyed with Violet we now have this opportunity to consider some important questions. How are our relationships doing? Do the people we love know it? Make sure they do. Tomorrow may be too late. Do you have one with Jesus? Do you have a reservation for one of those rooms which can only come out a relationship with Him?

To decide to answer and to act on those questions would be a good way to acknowledge the relationship you enjoyed with Violet and to honour her.

Not only were we born for relationships in this life, we were also born to enjoy them in the next, if we want to.