On Monday I officiated at the funeral of a former Anchorite, Tracy Flynn (mentioned in a post a few days ago).
Here is the transcript of that meditation; maybe there is someone that will find it comforting in their grieving of those that they have loved and lost.
I’m thankful for the time that Tracy’s spiritual journey and my spiritual journey crossed paths. I’m thankful for the time that she journeyed with me and others at Anchor Community Church.
Anchor talks about our spiritual journey like this: we encourage you, we want to help you take your next step with Jesus Christ.
This is at the heart of what we believe it means to be a Christian – that at any point in your spiritual journey, you are choosing to take your next step with Jesus Christ.
I’m thankful for the steps that I was able to encourage Tracy to take with Jesus Christ. I’m sure that Tracy was thankful to those of you who also helped her take her next many steps with Jesus.
Part of what it means to be a Christian, to take our next steps with Jesus is to trust his way of living, and believe his words to be trustworthy.
Part of what it means to follow Jesus, to take your next steps with him is to believe his words about God: that Jesus is what God would look like if He came to our world and lived amongst us as a man.
One of Jesus’ followers, John, wrote in a letter to some friends - friends whom he was encouraging to take their next steps with Jesus – and he described God as Love.
So we could say that Jesus – His words, works, His Way – is a living example of what God’s Love looks and sounds like.
Maybe part of what it means to be a Christian hinges on what we believe about Love: Does God as revealed through Jesus Christ have Anything to teach us about Love? I believe Yes.
If you believe that God is Love, and that Jesus is an example of what God’s Love looks like in our world, then you may also believe that what God teaches about Love through Jesus is crucial to our next steps in loving others as God loves us.
God’s love for us – as demonstrated through Jesus – is characterized by: Generosity, Forgiveness of Sins, Patience, Humility, Wisdom, Compassion.
God invites us to love in Jesus’ name – to love others like Jesus loves, like God loves us.
I think many of you would say – as you reflect on how Tracy loved you – with Generosity, Forgiveness of Sins, Patience, Humility, Wisdom, Compassion – that surely this was one of the ways that God was loving you.
Part of what it means to be a Christian is to believe that God’s love is generous enough to forgive us our sins.
And part of what it means to be a Christian, to take your next steps with Jesus, is to forgive others their sins as God in Jesus forgives yours.
Part of what it means to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus, is to also love the orphan and the widow, the poor and the oppressed, the abused and the neglected, the marginalized and the outcasts.
We believe that this is part of what it means to love others like God loves us – and when you reflect upon Tracy’s life, you see this kind of forgiving, compassionate love given to her, and given through her. Just as there was much in her life that needed forgiving, so she forgave much; and just as there was much compassion that she needed, so she gave much.
When you saw Traci loving the orphan and the widow, the abused and the neglected, the outcasts – you saw God’s love at work in our world. And you would say that this kind of love is a gift; and so we would say that Traci was a gift – of God, of love.
Many of us, when we pray, are asking – in one way or another – for more love: more generosity, more forgiveness, more patience, more humility, more wisdom, more compassion. And many times, when you prayed for this kind of love, God gave you Tracy. So we could say that Tracy was an answer to prayer; Tracy was often God’s answer to your prayers.
As we mourn Tracy’s death today, and as we celebrate her life today, we also consider how we might honor Tracy best everyday.
We honor Tracy best by how we live with the days we have left.
You honor Tracy’s death and life by loving others the way God has loved Tracy; you honor Tracy’s life by loving others the way God loved you through Tracy. We honor Tracy best by loving with the words and works of Jesus all the days we have left.
When given the opportunity to love generously in the Way of Jesus: Just Do It!
When given the opportunity to forgive sins in the Way of Jesus: Just Do It!
When given the opportunity to be humbly compassionate in the Way of Jesus: Just Do It!
When given the opportunity to take your next step in the Way of Jesus: Just Do It!
When given the opportunity to thank God for the gift of Tracy, Just Do It…
Scripture that I read that morning that you may also find helpful: Psalm 23, Psalm 17:1-8, 1John 4:7-21, 1Corinthians 13, Matthew 5:3-16