Saturday, 14 January 2017

Home Truths—A Short Funeral Homily with Reference to Ecc 3 and John 14: for Margaret Mattson

Jesus said, "My Father's house has many rooms," (John 14.2) in our reading from John's gospel. That sounds to me like a home, a home with many rooms. A heavenly home for God's children. A home where Jesus, himself, is. A home to which Jesus said he has gone on ahead to prepare places to come home to for those who have chosen to believe in him. Jesus is talking home truths.

I think of Margaret Mattson knew something about home truths, too. She grew up in one home, married the hired man, raised her own family in another home across the yard. All from 1919 to 1985. She lived and loved and baked jumbo raisin cookies and filled her home with the hum of sewing and home-made clothes, pies and scalloped potatoes. She made a home for her family. From what I heard from her daughters the other day, she was pretty good at making places for each one of them and their brothers there. She was a home maker. You can see it in her children.

That wonderful passage from Ecclesiastes we heard earlier has some home truths, too. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born" (Ecc 3.1-2) True. Margaret's was ninety-seven years ago. Her parents brought her home. When she was six months old they brought her to Canada. And then came all the activities of being and raising families in a farm home: times to plant and uproot, to kill and to heal, to tear down and build, to weep and laugh, mourn and dance, embracing, searching, giving up, keeping and throwing away, tearing, mending, silence, talking around the kitchen table (but not when Dad was trying to listen to the news), and always time to love and those precious moments of peace that pop up every now and and again in a busy family's life. Yes and there were times to hate and even to war against the things that might threaten the security of that home. Then, finally, after all that comes a time to die. True. It comes for all of us. Some of us, like Margaret, get to be old and full of years. For some, too young and too soon.

Which brings me back to Jesus and home truths. He wasn't very old yet he'd been through the seasons and activities of Ecclesiates 3. He knew about death and he knew that his time to die was close and he knew how the ones who loved him would feel. That's why he said what he said in John 14. He says it to us on days like this, too.

Don't be troubled. Believe. Believe in God, my Father, who has the big home with lots of rooms. Believe in me he says, because if it were not so, I wouldn't tell that it is. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14.1-4).

And you know they way to the place where I'm going, h said. Well, not so much. Some of them did. Except Thomas. He didn't, or thought he didn't. Same with us. Some of you do. Some of you did and forgot or life happened and crowded it out or it became too much trouble. Some of you may have never known.

So here's a home truth about Jesus. What's The Way to that place with all the rooms? "I am" says Jesus and that way runs through my church. Jesus also says he is The Truth and The Life (John 14.6). His heart still beats only now it beats in his body on earth, the Church. No one comes to the Father or one of those rooms in that great heavenly home except through him and his Church—Churches like this one where Margaret Mattson worshipped and found her way.

To explore the home truth that The Way, The Truth and The Life Jesus represents would be a good way to honour Margaret's memory.

Let’s pray:
Lord Jesus, you claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me,  and open to me the reality of who you are. Give me an understanding that is coherent, convincing, and leads to the life and the home that you promise.