Such a lovely room

Such a lovely room

Friday, August 28, 2020

The Burial of Mary Vasilo

For Mary Vasilo, 8/28/20
Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-33
2 Cor. 4:16-5:9
Psalm 23
John 6:37-40  

Jesus said, “This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”  In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The thing about our dear Mary Vasilo is that she would never tell anyone how old she was.  I’m kidding, of course.  Mary loved to tell people how old she was, and always followed up with, “Can you believe it?”  It was clear to me that Mary was proud of approaching 90.  She bragged about turning 91.  She reveled in the fact that she passed 92.  Sure, she complained as she got older . . . as do I.  But Mary was not afraid to tell people how old she was.

And you know what else Mary wasn’t afraid of?  Death.  I mean, just like any rational person, she was afraid of a lot of pain, or of the sadness that we would all feel when she was gone.  But Mary wasn’t afraid of death itself.  And there’s a very simple reason for that.

Mary Vasilo trusted Jesus.  Mary trusted that Jesus would do what Jesus promised to do.  To show up in the sacraments, to walk beside her through her life, and to raise her up on the last day.  People who believe those three things—the power of the sacraments, the presence of Jesus, and the promise of the resurrection—people who believe those things can all be found in one place: church.  Because that is where those three things are proclaimed and celebrated.  And, it’s not news to anyone who is here today, Mary loved to be in church!

When I started as Rector of St. Timothy’s four years ago, everything was new to me.  Everything was kind of strange and unpredictable.  But the one thing I could count on, the one thing that was predictable each week was that I would see Mary Vasilo, every Wednesday afternoon, and again on Sunday morning.  Every.  Single.  Week.  And when Mary couldn’t be here—like when she was busy drinking apricot brandy up in Twinsburg—she would call Candy to make sure that I knew she wouldn’t be here.  I always knew how old Mary was, and I always knew when she was out of town.

Mary would be the first to tell you that she was a simple person, but I don’t think that’s true.  I would say Mary was a solid person.  And there’s a big difference.  Because Mary knew what was important, and she knew what she believed, and she knew who she loved.  And, more importantly, she knew that she was loved.  She knew she was loved by her family, and she knew she was loved by her caregiver, and she knew she was loved by the people of this church—especially the ones who checked in on her every single night.  But she also knew that she was loved by Jesus.  And I think that’s what made Mary’s life so wonderful to behold.  She knew she was loved.  And that makes all the difference in a person’s life.  Any person’s life.  To know that you are loved makes all the difference in how you live your life.

As we just heard, Jesus said, “anyone who comes to me I will never drive away.”  And Jesus said, “I will lose nothing of all that the Father has given me.”  And Jesus also said, “all who see the Son and believe in him will have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”

I can clearly see that Jesus was describing Mary Vasilo here.  She came to Jesus, and he never drove her away.  She was given to Jesus, and was not lost to him.  She believed in Jesus, and she will be raised up on the last day.  And I like to think that when that happens, on the last day, we will all see Mary Vasilo, holding a glass of apricot brandy, proudly telling everyone exactly how old she is.

May God’s face shine on Mary Vasilo, and may God’s face shine on you.  Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment