Such a lovely room

Such a lovely room

Monday, May 13, 2024

The Burial of Robert M. Hess, Jr

Robert M. Hess, Jr. 5/13/24
Isaiah 25:6-9
Psalm 23
Revelation 21:2-7
John 6:37-40

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

Unlike most of you, I did not know Bob Hess well.  But the two themes that I see running through his life are continuity and faithfulness.  When you look for those two things, you’ll see them at every turn in Bob’s life.  He graduated from Massillon’s Washington High School, and when he returned to Massillon, he continued to be an avid fan of the Massillon Tigers as well as the swing band.  Continuity and faithfulness.

You can see it in his love and devotion to his family.  And there’s even a hint of it in his name.  His father’s name was Robert Hess, as was his name, as was his son’s name, who passed away at too early an age.  There is faithfulness and continuity in keeping the name Robert M. Hess going.

You can see it in his love for gardening.  Some people get excited about a garden for a year or two and then get distracted by other things.  But attentive gardeners know that weeds need to be removed; some plants need to be thinned or pruned; there is mulch and fertilizer and so many other aspects to gardening.  True gardening keeps one eye on the past and one eye on the future.  You know where plants came from, and you know what is going to come up next spring and into the future.  Gardening also requires faithfulness and continuity.

And then there is this place, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church.  Bob was a lifelong member here, but I rarely saw him in my first three years as the priest here.  After his beloved Beverly died, Bob started coming to church again, nearly every Sunday until the pandemic hit.  Then I didn’t see much of Bob—or anyone else—for obvious reasons.  Once we started opening the doors again, masks were required by order of the Bishop.  Bob came a couple times, but then finally told me that he just couldn’t breathe in “that damn mask,” and he stopped coming again.  Then, when we removed the mask mandate, Bob came back.  Because Bob Hess was a lifelong member of this parish, whether we saw him on Sunday or not.  He knew he was always welcome here, because St. Timothy’s was also part of the faithfulness and continuity that guided the life of Robert M. Hess, Jr.

In the gospel reading we just heard, Jesus says, "Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away.  And 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.”  Do you see the two themes that are also in this section of scripture?  They are continuity and faithfulness.

Anyone who comes to Jesus will never be driven away.  Jesus will lose nothing that is his, and will raise it all up on the last day.  That includes you, and me, Robert M. Hess, Sr., Robert M. Hess, Jr., Robert M. Hess III, and any other Robert M. Hesses out there.  None of us are going anywhere we have not safely been all along.  Which is right in the palm of God’s hand.  We need not fear death, because continuity and faithfulness are also the promises of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Jesus will lose nothing that is his, but will raise it all—and us all—on the last day.  Thanks be to God.


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