Such a lovely room

Such a lovely room

Thursday, March 11, 2021

The Burial of Anne Smith

Anne Smith, 3-11-21
Isaiah 25:6-9
Psalm 23
Revelation 21:2-7
John 11:21-27

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

Anne Smith was always here for St. Timothy’s Church.  I’ve read the old Vestry minutes; I’ve heard the stories from parishioners; I’ve seen how we are one of the few parishes in the Diocese with a thriving ECW.  Not to mention our crackerjack Altar Guild!  All because Anne was here.  It’s hard to imagine where we’d be as a parish without Anne Smith.  Anne was here for St. Tim’s.  Anne was here.

In the gospel reading we just heard, Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother, Lazarus, would not have died.”  It’s quite a thing to say, isn’t it?  If you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.  It’s almost sort of a backhanded compliment, when you think about it.  Because it suggests that Jesus can prevent death . . . if only he had been there.  And then you end up thinking that the reason Lazarus died is because Jesus wasn’t there.  Jesus wasn’t there for Lazarus, and so he died.  This is completely not true.  But it makes sense to us.  At least sometimes.

Because we can’t help feeling the same way, right?  We can’t help thinking, If Jesus had been here, Anne would not have died.  And that walks us right into believing that, since Anne has died . . . well, Jesus wasn’t here for her.  Wasn’t here for us.

Jesus, if you had been here, our sister Anne would not have died.  We know that isn’t true; but, like Martha we can’t help but have the thought.  The thought that Jesus let us down.  But . . . Jesus was here, and Jesus is here, and Jesus will be here.  And people we love will still pass away.

Every year on Ash Wednesday, we remind ourselves that we are mortal.    We are dust, and to dust we shall return.  We remind ourselves that even though Jesus is here with us, we will still die.  All of us.  Maybe what Martha should have said was, Lord, if you had been here, my brother Lazarus would still have died.  Having Jesus present with us does not prevent death.  Jesus does not save us from death; Jesus saves us in death.

But . . . Jesus does not argue with Martha who has just lost her brother.  Just as Jesus does not argue with us as we mourn losing Anne.  Instead, Jesus says to Martha, “Your brother will rise again.”  Says to us, your sister will rise again, your mother will rise again, your grandmother and great grandmother will rise again.  Because death is not the last word.

Jesus also said to Martha:  “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live.”  That is the promise to which we cling this day.  Though Anne has died, Jesus has not abandoned her.  And because of this, Anne will rise again.  We will rise again.  Because Jesus has not abandoned us.

St. Timothy’s is the church that it is today because Anne Smith loved this parish, and offered herself to us, in service and in leadership.  And we will be forever grateful for all she has done, and for all she has been, in this place, and in our lives.  And today, we hold to that promise from Jesus:  Our sister will rise again.


No comments:

Post a Comment