Such a lovely room

Such a lovely room

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Burial of David M. Seffens

The Burial of David M. Seffens, 8/17/19
Isaiah 25:6-9
Psalm 23
Revelation 21:2-7
John 6:37-40

Jesus said, “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never turn away.”

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

This is a very difficult day, for all of us.  But let me start with this.  The first time I was arrested as a teenager, I spent the night in jail in Corning, NY.  My parents were devastated, and had to drive 3 hours to pick me up the next day.  It was humiliating for everyone.

And if, by chance, that was the last thing I did, well, that’s all anyone would ever say about me.  Oh, George Baum?  He was the guy who got caught with burglary tools in his pocket at a hospital in Corning, after a $2 door stop went missing.  That’s how I would be remembered, for my worst moment . . . up to that point.

We naturally look backwards to define ourselves and others.  We explain our identities by looking to the past.  Here’s my degree; here’s where I served in the military; here’s my Eagle Scout badge.  Obituaries and resume’s are by definition an accounting of the past.  They look backward.  We naturally look to the past to tell who someone was.  We ask, “Who were they?”

But God always looks forward, not backward.  The promises we make in church are always forward, never backward.  The priest asks a couple who is about to be married, Will you love, comfort, honor, and keep each other?  Before a person is Baptized, the priest asks Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons?  And the candidate says, I will, with God’s help.  We always ask “will you.”  We never ask “have you.”  It doesn’t matter how you got here.  It matters where you’re going.  Again, God always looks forward, not backward.

We have lost someone dear to us.  And the reason we lost him is connected to the reason he has been in the news these past few months.  And yet, David Seffens remains a child of God, just like you and me.  I would not want for my worst moment to be the reason I am remembered.  And neither would you.  But again, God always looks forward.

And so, today, I want us to focus on the future.  On what redeems all of us.  The most notorious sinner and the most grace-filled saint are all redeemed because of Jesus.  And whether we live good lives, bad lives, or—like most of us—lives with a healthy dose of each, our redemption and our hope is the same.  And hope is about the future, not the past.

And here is why we have hope:  Jesus said, “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never turn away.”  And, as we also heard, “this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” 

Whatever you have done in your life, whatever you will do, Jesus does not give up on you, just as Jesus has not given up on Dave Seffens.  In Jesus, nothing will be lost, no one will be lost, all will be raised up on the last day.  Jesus says so himself.  And you and I live our lives looking toward that future, where all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well, because God will have swallowed up death forever.


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