The music of Gene’s life did not end at his death. Though we might be able to name the day and maybe even the hour of Gene’s death, he never knew that moment. He simply moved from this life to a new life. The music hasn’t ended, the key has changed. And that means we must learn to listen in a new way. We must listen with the ears of our hearts. Continue reading The Music Hasn’t Ended, The Key Has Changed – A Funeral Sermon
What God creates, God loves; and what God loves, God loves everlastingly. I hope that you will hold on to those words. They are the thread that runs through everything we will do here today. They are the thread that runs through everything I will say to you. They are the thread that ran through Tommy’s life, his dying, and his being raised up to … Continue reading Opening Gates – A Funeral Sermon For A Nonbeliever
I wondered what difference his being different made to others. Because you know as well as I that the world can be a difficult place when you are different. The world can be way to quick to see and name difference as a deficiency and way to slow to create a place and space for one who is different. And too often that one lives at the extremes of either being avoided or taken advantage of. Continue reading The One For Whom Difference Makes No Difference – A Funeral Sermon On John 6:37-40
Richard knew a “secret, a very simple secret.” He knew and trusted that “it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, chapter xxi)
That is the secret that sustains us through our losses and gives hope on this day. It is the secret that makes life beautiful, relationships meaningful, and conversations extraordinary. It is the secret that lifts us up to see further and cleanses our eyes to see more clearly. It is the secret all our sacred scriptures try to teach us. It is a secret open to everyone and hidden from no one, but only those with eyes to see will understand it. Continue reading Seeing With The Eye Of The Heart – A Funeral Sermon on 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:9
Today we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23). Today the familiarity, poetry, and beauty of the 23rd psalm have a different tone. The shadow is dark and the valley is long and deep. I will not mislead you by denying that reality or letting platitudes and sentimentalities echo off the valley’s walls. That doesn’t help anyone. The valley is real and the shadow is here. That does not mean, however, that you and I are without hope. Let me be clear about this. That does not mean we are without hope. Continue reading The Light In The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death – A Funeral Sermon on Psalm 23
I need you to trust me and work with me on what I am going to say next. It won’t seem true but it is. Brian’s love, his life, and his presence are as real today as before he died. I know it doesn’t look like that and it sure doesn’t feel like that. I know that your grief and tears are saying that it’s not true. But I promise you it is. It is the gospel truth. Continue reading When A Loved One Dies – A Funeral Sermon on John 14:1-6
It is a connection I never imagined or wanted. Nine days after the death of my son I officiated and preached at the wedding of a young couple. Nine days before the third anniversary of my son’s death I officiated and preached the following sermon at the funeral of that young couple’s baby. Born prematurely, he lived only about three weeks.
What does one say on the death of a child? What are the parents and congregation able to hear? I thought about the things said to my wife and me; some helpful, others not so helpful. I thought about what the parents wanted to hear and what I wanted and still need to hear. It was one of those moments when there is both nothing and everything to say. I know that I preached the following words as much to myself as to others. Preachers do that sometimes, maybe more often than we care to admit.
Today marks the third anniversary of our son’s death. There is both nothing and everything to say.
I want to name some realities about this day and the circumstances in which we gather: Continue reading “On the Death of a Child”
We seem to give him back to you, dear God, who gave him to us. Yet as you did not lose him in giving, so we have not lost him by his returning. Not as the world gives, do you give, O Lover of Souls! What you give, you do not take away. For what is yours is ours always, if we are yours. Life … Continue reading And Death is Only a Horizon.
“The Sun of Righteousness is gloriously risen, giving light to those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death.” John 6:37-40 Romans 8:14-19, 34-35, 37-39 Wisdom 3:1-5,9 How poignant is it that today we do not sing and the organ is not played – this day, of all days, when we gather to celebrate and give thanks for the life and resurrection of … Continue reading A Funeral Sermon For Warren