Burial Sermon, James Spinks

Sermon for Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Burial, James Spinks
John 14:1-6

Picture 089I find Jesus’ words comforting:

Do not let your hearts be troubled… I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go… I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.

To non-Christians – and maybe even to us Christians! – Jesus’ words might seem preposterous:  “When we’re dead, we’re dead!”  But our Christian faith is rooted in belief in resurrection.  As we began our liturgy this afternoon:

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth.  After my awaking, he will raise me up; and in my body I shall see God…

Even though James’ death came as no surprise, and even though at the end James expressed a desire to die and said he was ready to die, yet his death leaves a hole.  James’ death might leave a hole in us personally; his death certainly leaves a hole in the family.  (Family dynamics tend to shift after a death, sometimes in surprising ways.)  As we come to terms with this hole, as we adjust to the new dynamic in our lives and in the family – as we grieve – Jesus offers words of comfort.

I am Resurrection and I am life…  Whoever has faith in me shall have life, even though he die.  And everyone who has life, and has committed himself to me in faith, shall not die for ever.

And:

Do not let your hearts be troubled…  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go… I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.

James is gone; his death has left a hole.  Our faith in Jesus – if we let him – assures us that death does not have the last word, that He is Resurrection, that all will be made alive in Christ, that there are places prepared for James and for us in His Father’s house, and that, when our time comes, He will take us to Himself, so that where He is, we may be also.

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