In memory of the unknown sister, fellow child of God

Grace and peace to you from God Our Creator, and from His Son, Jesus Christ our risen Savior and Lord. Amen

 In sharing fellowship last week with Shannon’s family over a meal,

I was thankful to have gotten the opportunity to hear the stories about her sister Jennifer,

because I did not have the opportunity to meet her myself.

But I did not have to know her to have the understanding that she too, is also my sister in Christ,

We as people of God are continuing the journey of this Easter season,

and of the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

So we proclaim that since He loved us

and that we in turn should love one another,

We are bonded as brothers and sisters in Christ and in Faith

And in these times of struggle, pain, sorrow and grief

we reach out to one another.

We as this community reach out to our sister Shannon and her family

…because there are no words..

Than can express anything of substance when death comes suddenly

And throws our entire existence into chaos

And our soul is left to question exactly, Why?

Deaths such as Jennifer’s are hard to bear

And we come into these sacred spaces broken,

weeping,

frustrated

angry

We cry out, Why?

And we wonder where is God?

There are no easy answers for the cloud of witnesses gathered here tonight

It would be meaningless to stand here and offer words that would only place a band aid on your collective pain

The only thing that I can do as a called child of God to this ministry

Is to offer to some and remind others

What God’s Promise is for all of God’s children

Because the Good News is, God knew and loved His child Jennifer….

Already aware of the abundant, radiant life that she led.

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Jesus Christ, in our Gospel text this evening reminds the disciples

And us

Of the connective relationship God has with God’s People

It is because God cared for the people of Israel as a shepherd…

Protecting them

Guiding them

That they were able to live an abundant life.

So then Jesus Christ, the son of God both to his disciples

And to us today, proclaims

“I AM the Gate.”

                   Not as a barrier to separate those who are worthy

From the “unworthy”

But to protect us from the thieves of this life….

The part of this world that attempts to deny and rob us from the presence

Of God, Our Creator and Healer

That which would attempt to surround us in darkness and negativity

Feeding us lies to bruise our spirits

That because of who we are or how we loved…or what mistakes we may have made…or that we didn’t do everything right

That we are not worthy of standing in the eternal, radiant, abundant, redemptive light of God

But this is why the risen Jesus Christ stands

And declares “I AM”

                                      And reaches out and cradles us protectively

Lovingly

And proclaims

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

And because of His promise, this is what Jennifer did

She lived abundantly

She loved abundantly

She gave of herself to everyone she came in contact with, abundantly…

Sister, daughter, beloved, niece, friend…

This was who she was….

And the Good News of Jesus Christ is that because Jesus Christ gave of Himself

For all of God’s Creation, every one of us.

We too, can live abundantly…

But it is hard, right?

Because our sister Jennifer is not here with us….

But Jesus’s message of living abundantly rings as truth

So we, too must live abundantly

In Jennifer’s memory…

By loving and caring for those whose voice may not have the strength to ring out against the injustices of this world

By being in community with one another and with the stranger

By participating along this winding journey of life with a sense of purpose

By simply brightening someone’s day just as Jennifer would have done.

(pause)

We as people of Faith continue to celebrate this Easter season

Knowing that because Christ has indeed risen

And the Good News of Jesus Christ is

Because of God’s Promise to us, through Christ

To never leave us

Nor forsake us

Christ has lovingly reached out

And cradled our sister Jennifer

And we know that she continues to live

Eternal life

                                                                    Abundantly

Thanks Be To God.

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