Such a lovely room

Such a lovely room

Friday, September 30, 2016

for Cheryl Bower, February 3, 1944 - September 23, 2016

Cheryl Bower, A Celebration of Life
Isaiah 25:6-9
Revelation 21:2-7
John 6:37-40
Preached October 1st, 2016, in celebration of the life of Cheryl Bower

Jesus says: “This is the will of him who sent me, I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”

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

Most of you here today knew Cheryl better than I did, since I’ve only been at St. Timothy’s for a couple months now.  And though I worked alongside Cheryl a few days a week, I did not really get to know her as so many of you did.  But I did come to know some important things about her, and I want to tell you what I saw.

Of course, Cheryl was here on Sundays, since she was the organist and provided the music which so uplifted our spirits each week.  But she was also here on Wednesdays, for our more intimate noon service.  Each week when I came in to begin that noon service, I was always surprised to see her sitting in the pews.  Until last week, when I was surprised not to see her among the congregation.  Cheryl did not have to come to those Wednesday services, but she obviously wanted to.  Hers was a quiet faith, steady and confident.

Each Sunday, following the sermon, we all stand together and say the Nicene Creed, the profession of our faith.  Cheryl always stood up for that and faced the Altar alongside me right here.  I never saw her stand during other parts of the service, but she always rose for the Creed.  And she always spoke the words from memory.  Hers was a confident faith, known and proclaimed.

And, speaking of Creeds, in a few moments, we will say a different Creed together: The Apostles Creed.  We use this one at funerals because we use this one at baptisms.  You could say it brackets our lives as Christians.  And for the same reason, we light the Paschal candle and place it next to the baptismal font at funerals, to remind us that—as Paul says—we were baptized into Christ’s death, and this means we will also be raised in a resurrection like his.  Cheryl’s was a Sacramental faith, lived out in the cycles and mysteries of the church of Christ on earth.

Today, we remember Cheryl’s faith: quiet, confident, and sacramental.  And today we gather to celebrate the gift of Cheryl’s life in all of our lives.  We come together to remember her faith in God, but also—more importantly—to be reminded of God’s love for her.

Though she is lost to us here, she is not lost to God.  Jesus says: “This is the will of him who sent me, I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”


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