Every time a loved one dies all of us are reminded that our days are numbered. Our physical bodies can only last so many years. We realize we aren’t immortal.
But, my friends, death doesn’t have the final word. The writers of every scripture read this morning in their own way spoke of the hope they had in God and Jesus and the Spirit. God is righteous. God loves us. He is always with us everywhere we are. Even though our bodies wear out and we die our hope is in God who will raise us up at the last day. As Jesus said, “…my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Friends, that’s our hope, our faith is grounded in God’s love and grace. And I believe that’s what gives us hope and the assurance that one day we will all be reunited with those saints who’ve gone on ahead of us. Dorothy has just passed through the door before us but one day she’ll be reunited with her family and friends.
In the meantime it’s our responsibility to continue the work she started through God’s good grace. God has blessed each of us with gifts that we’re to use to tell the story of God’s love to our families, our friends, and everyone we meet on our journey through this life.
As Paul told the Ephesians, “18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
We have hope because of God’s grace, that wonderfully free gift of love that we have by no stretch of the imagination earned.
“8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Our hope, our faith rests on God’s love and grace for his creation and we whom he created in his image. As Jesus said in John’s gospel for us today, “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away… everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Friends, that’s the good news. We believe and so we shall have eternal life and we will be raised up on that last day.
Death doesn’t have the power it had before Jesus came and we need to be reminded of that. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. Thanks be to God. Amen.