A Eulogy (John 14)

Moments like this are not for empty promises or clichés.  I have not seen a many roomed mansion over the hilltop.  Nor have I traveled to the far side of the Jordan to witness the gathering of the “church triumphant”.  I do not know if Heaven is paved with streets of Gold or guarded by gates of pearl.  Instead, I speak to you this morning from my own experience.  I am not here to describe to you where Betsy is or what she’s now experiencing.  However, I am here to tell you these truths:  God is with us in our pain.  God grieves with us in our loss.  Betsy is with God.  Her journey in life is over.  In eternity, the pain she knew in life is finished.  She has been healed.  In this moment, as our pain is real and tangible, God asks to share in our suffering and grief.  God invites us to heal together as family, friends, and a community.  We give thanks for all that Betsy meant to each person gathered here this morning.

The human body is a fragile yet wonderful creation.  Despite our persistent denials, weakness is woven into the fabric of our lives.  Our bodies are not designed for eternity.  Even when our hearts stop, our souls beat with a vitality that extends beyond physical death.  This is because there is more than one way to measure life, a good life, and a life well-lived.  In seeds sown among the hearts of people gathered here today Betsy’s life present.  The distance between the living and the dead is breached by the love a human body cannot contain.  Are we prepared to be witnesses to that love?  This is the difference is remembering someone and living out your love.  Death could not contain the love Christ’s love for humanity.  Betsy loved each one of you.  Will today be the end of Betsy’s story?  Shall no more be said?

Our challenge is simple.  Do we merely remember, consigning “love” to a memory, like a scrapbook we occasionally pull of the shelf and recall nostalgically?  Or do we do something with the love we received and pass that love and those stories we’ve heard on to others?

Richard Lowell Bryant