Tuesday, 21 December 2010

A Short Funeral Sermon with Reference to John 14 and Special Transit—for Marg Triskle

The first section we heard in the reading from John was Jesus comforting his disciples. “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” He said. Why would he say that? Because He and they and we live in a world where day’s like today happen. A troubled world in which there are things like multiple sclerosis, broken marriages, wheelchairs and death. A world in which there has to be hospitals and nursing homes and Special Transit. And He said it because He loves them, and Marg and you and me with our troubled hearts (notice I said loves, not loved—past tense—the disciples and Marg go on, beloved).

Then we heard the best way to deal with our trouble. “Trust in God,” Jesus says, “trust also in me.” That doesn’t necessarily mean that our troubles go away, but Jesus is always the best way to get through them. Marg knew that. She trusted in Jesus. She trusted that there are many rooms in His (and her) Father’s heavenly house and that Jesus went on to prepare a place for her. She trusted His promise to come back and take her to be with Him where He is. That doesn’t mean she didn’t have issues with His timing and the length of time she had to suffer. Neither does it mean she didn’t make her feelings known to him—frequently. Marg was a determined, outspoken, insistent woman. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jesus is very relieved happy to have her settled there in peace at last.

I shall remember Marg for her determination and endurance. For example, Marg came to church determinedly. It took something serious to keep her away. It wasn’t easy or convenient for her to come to church. Special Transit had to be booked. Often someone had to open the back door for her specially when she arrived because it is locked for security reasons. Rarely was she able to stay for coffee afterwards (so she wasn’t just here to visit) she had to go when the bus returned. But she came, Sunday after Sunday, and the beeping of the back-up warning on her wheelchair was one of the sounds of worship time at St Barnabas. And as she left the sanctuary after worship, there was often some youngster riding her chair with her. And not just Sunday’s, she was a secret sister and a pray-er. Her’s is a remarkable example of determination to worship despite serious obstacles and inconveniences—a marked contrast to the rather lame things I have heard so called able-bodied people use as excuses for not coming to meet Jesus in worship in His church.

As a person who had to rely on Special Transit, I think Marg’s situation has something to teach us able-bodied folk. She couldn’t just jump into her car and go somewhere whenever she wanted as most of us can. When she wanted to go somewhere, she had to make a reservation. When Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” it’s like he is the Special Transit we all need for the journey to one of those rooms in our Father’s heavenly house. Why do we need Special Transit to get there? Marg needed Special Transit because she was disabled by her physical condition. When it comes to eternity and heaven we are all profoundly disabled by our sin. Jesus is the only way to one of those rooms. We need a reservation on the Special Transit He provides. How do we get one? We admit that we are disabled by our sin, we accept that His death on the cross paid our Special Transit fare to eternal life and we trust that His subsequent resurrection from the dead will get us there.

If you haven’t yet gotten in touch with Jesus to secure your reservation, I’m sure Marg would be on your case to do so. Soon. Life can be shorter than we expect. You never know when you’ll need your Special Transit for the journey to that heavenly home.