Friday, 10 March 2017

Heavenly Light: a Short Funeral Sermon with Refence to Romans 8.26-28; 15.13 and 2 Cor 1.3-4—for Mary Simpson Dudley

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world." (John 8.12) Jesus is the Heavenly Light Mary wrote about in the poem Erin read to us earlier. Jesus is
the Heavenly light
that surrounds us day and night
A gift from above that will never
be gone from our sight
…provided we keep our eyes open for him.
And whether it warms your heart and
brightens your day
or simply lights your path to help
you find your way
He promised to be there during even the
darkest hours
And now a special Heavenly light
will be forever yours
The Holy Spirit Paul wrote about in the reading we heard from Romans is the one the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ sent to be with us after Jesus was crucified, died, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Jesus called the Holy Spirit, The Comforter or Helper (John 14.16). The Holy Spirit is The One who now helps us in our weakness at times like this when we're grieving and, as Mary wrote in her poem, "during even the darkest hours" in our lives. He is The One who prays for us with groanings too deep for words (Ro 8.26) and who pleads for those who believe in Jesus "in harmony with God's own will" (Ro 8.27)—in harmony with "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" who "is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort," who "comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others." So, "When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." (2 Cor 1.3-4) just so, we're here to comfort one another.

Not only is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ the source of all comfort, he is also the source of the kind of hope that overflows with confidence and is able to fill you and me "completely with joy and peace" when we trust in him, because even in those darkest hours Mary wrote about in her poem, even when someone we love dies too soon and it feels like we'll never get over it, Jesus promised he would never leave us or forsake us (Heb 13.5), that his Father causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose for them (Ro 8.28)—even things like this. Because, as Charlie sang in Morningtown Ride earlier:
Somewhere there is sunshine
Somewhere there is day
Somewhere there is Morningtown
Many miles away
And there we will find Jesus, source of Heavenly Light, the Resurrection and the Life, gone ahead to prepare rooms in his Father's heavenly home for those of us who want one (John 14.1-3). Where Jesus is, death cannot prevail. Where Jesus is we "won’t have to walk in darkness, because we will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8.12) Everlasting life.

Mary knew that. I know that she hopes we all do, too.