I preached a homily at the celebration remembering the life of Bruce Buel, the  brother of one of our active parishioners, this afternoon.  This is it: 

I never met Bruce. Cathy talked about him, and how much his presence meant in her life. And how she misses him, now that he’s gone. And the fact that he was afraid to die. And how much that troubled her. But I never met Bruce. I did not have that privilege.

 Fear of death, by the way, is not surprising. It’s natural, and normal, to fear death. I know some early martyrs actively sought their deaths. But Jesus didn’t want to die. Certainly not the way he died. He would have preferred that cup to pass him by. But each one of us, whether we want to or not, however scared we may or may not be, one day will die.

 That’s scary. But Christians have hope, too. I’m sure others do also. But Christians have hope for a new and better life to come, spent in the presence of a loving God. That’s what this service is about.

 Yes, we’re here to honor Bruce’s life. Yes we’re here to mourn our loss and begin to heal.

 But this service is a resurrection service. This service is an Easter service. We believe that when this life is done, we have new life in Jesus. We believe we will find joy living with the God who loves us – loves us more than we have ever been loved. That, today, is our hope for Bruce.

 And that is our hope, for our own lives too. At times like this we are very aware of our own mortality and the uncertainty of life. Life is fragile. And it’s all too short. But it can also be sweet and rewarding beyond measure. God made us, God gave us life, I’m convinced, because God thought we’d like it. And we do. And we hold on to it. But it’s a way-stop on a journey that continues. It’s not a place we can stop for good.

 We prepare ourselves for our life to come, for better or for worse, by the way we live in this life. I don’t think this should scare us,. But I do think we should take this seriously. What we do and do not do matters. It makes a real difference.

 So let us celebrate Bruce’s life. He lived a full life. And he made a difference in the lives of others and in preserving our environment. And let us mourn our loss. Tears are not unchristian. And let us live the lives God wants for us. Let God shape us, and bring us fullness of life – in this life and in the life to come.

 In words taken from the Saturday Matins hymn of the St. Helena Breviary:

 So let this day in joy pass on,
our hope spread like the early dawn,
our faith like noontide splendor glow,
our souls a gentle twilight know.

 And when the world at last shall end,
and Christ appears as judge and friend,
may we be welcomed by that light
and dwell forever in God’s sight.