Such a lovely room

Such a lovely room

Friday, May 29, 2020

For Will Miller, May 29, 2020

For Will Miller
Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-33
Psalm 121
2 Corinthians 4:16-5:9
Psalm 23
John 14:1-6

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

This is a hard time to do a hard thing, this saying goodbye to one who was loved and cherished by so many.  There are lots of people who would like to be here today, but they can’t.  We’d love to be able to sing and to share Communion, but we can’t.  We would so appreciate to be able to share a meal together afterward, but we can’t.  And what we really want, truly, is to have back the Will we knew in October, but we can’t.

This has been a long and exhausting journey for those who were closest to Will.  The days and months and years ahead aren’t going to be easy.  But you will have each other, and you will have the people who love you, walking beside you.  Will was a special kind of person, and I know that I will miss him very much.  And I will miss him especially in a very particular way, a way that I see reflected in this gospel reading we just heard, from John.  Because Will reminded me of Thomas, on more than one occasion.

Jesus says to his disciples, “I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.”  And you know who speaks up?  Thomas.  Thomas was always willing to ask the hard questions that nobody else would ask.  Remember right after the resurrection, when the disciples tell Thomas that they have seen Jesus?  And Thomas says, “Unless I see the scars, I will not believe.”  No one else says that.  No one else asks the hard question, which in that case was:  “How do I know it’s really Jesus?  How can I believe unless I see that proof that Jesus has suffered, like I am suffering?”  It’s an important question.  And only Thomas asked that question.

And today, when Jesus says, “You know the way to the place where I am going.”  And Thomas—the one who asks the hard questions that no one else is willing to ask—says to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”  No one else asks that question.  Heck, we don’t know if anyone else even thought of that question.  But Thomas did.

In a very real and tangible way, that’s what Will did for me as his priest.  Not in an aggressive way.  Not in an accusing way.  But Will was one who would often ask me the questions that never occurred to me.  He would just walk up to me and ask, “Why do we do that this way?”  Or, “What did you mean when you said that?”  Or, “Have you ever considered trying to do this?”  Like he was always wondering about things, always curious, always willing to ask the hard questions.  And believe me, a lot more priests would do well to have a lot more Will Millers in their congregations!

And this morning, well, I guess it’s fitting that we are gathered together asking hard questions ourselves.  Questions like, “Are we really going to see Will again?”  Questions like, “Is Will in a safe place now?”  And even, “How will we ever see Will again if we don’t know where he is, when we don’t even know the place?  How can we know the way?”

And the answer to all those hard questions we are asking comes from the lips of Jesus.  “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”  We know the way to the place where we will be reunited with Will, because we know Jesus.  And wherever Jesus is, that is where we are going to find our beloved Will.

May God give us all the strength to trust that we are going to see Will again, and he is going to be the Will we remember, the one who asked the difficult questions, the one who knew Jesus, the one who knows the way.


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