Behold! I Make All Things New
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
This is a night to remember Ursula. Even though remembering makes us feel the sadness of Ursula’s absence, it also keeps her present and part of our lives. Our memories of Ursula can be expressions the love we had and shared together, and so, those memories are simultaneously painful and happy. There are other memories there as well, I am sure. Maybe memories that fill us not so much with love as with regret or guilt or shame. These too are part of the reckoning me all must do at the end of something, a settling of accounts, so to speak. That is why a service such as this reminds us that we will be okay, and that we will not have to bear the full weight of our mourning or grief all by ourselves, but that Jesus himself bears that weight with us and for us so that we might remember love, receive forgiveness and pardon, and live on in hope of the new thing that God Himself is revealing in the world.
"We look for the resurrection of the dead and life in the world to come," we confess in one of our creeds. We do so because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and is the first sign of a new world coming. It is sustain that hope and strengthen the faith the feeds that hope that we are given the promise that God is creating a new heaven and new earth for us in Jesus Christ, and you will catch a glimpse of what this hope looks like in the memories of the stories you heard about Ursula and her husband.
They lived together and made a home and built a life out of the ruins and devastation of the Second World War. Every marriage is a new life emerging from an old life, but her love story takes on cosmic proportions when you see that it is a new life in a new place, a new life that just in its living and making a home was a witness to all the world that death and destruction have been defeated and God’s holy gift of life continues.
When they moved to Edison, it was not as it is now. She was a pioneer of the new settlement, the first of an emerging township, the sign that something new was happening to this place. She made a new home. She started a family. She made new friends. She was part of a founding of new church, and she was part of the building, of making all things new.
We still enjoy the benefits of her work, her love, her life, and now her memory.
It is easy when we come to the end of things, the end of a life, to recall the past with a longing to go back to that time when … or that place where … or to be once again in the presence of the ones we love and who love us. But some of the first words that were spoken on the morning when Jesus rose from the dead invites us to turn around and look in faith to God’s unfolding promise of the future. “Do not look for the living among the dead.” The angel said. The good news of Jesus for us is that God has given us faith to trust in the hope of life in the world to come. A life that Ursula now enjoys in the fullness of God’s promise, but a life that we, right now, can only apprehend by faith and by hearing God speak the promise again and again: "I saw a new heaven and new earth … and God shall be our light and crying and mourning shall be no more for God will wipe away the tears.”
Our memories prepare us to anticipate God’s coming gift, even as we praise and thank God for what has been in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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