Caitlin Trussell with Sara’s family and friends on February 24, 2019
I am Pastor Caitlin Trussell and I bring you greetings from the sinner/saints of Augustana Lutheran Church in Denver. Much closer to home, I’ve been friends with Sara’s sister Susan for almost 20 years, after our sons met in preschool. My heart and prayers have been with Sara and you all through her diagnosis and death. The invitation to close the remarks today is an honor.
There’s a verse that I hang onto in the Christian Bible that helps me in difficult times. It goes like this, “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us and God’s love is made complete in us.”** Notice that this Bible verse doesn’t say love is perfect and it doesn’t say love isn’t messy. It says that God’s love is made complete in the love we share with each other. When I pray out loud with people, I often say a prayer of thanksgiving for the way God shows God’s love for us through other people. And today, I thank God that you all had Sara to love and to love you – not perfectly revealing God’s love, but completing it nonetheless. Sara was one such person through whom you experienced a small fraction of the love that God has for us.
And also, in a very real way, God did this through Jesus, who gave his life on a cross. There’s many things that the cross means but I’m going to spare you and highlight just one thing the cross means. It means God knows suffering and grief. More than that, the cross reveals the mystery of God suffering with us when we suffer and grieve. Because grief is often a messy mix of our love and our unfinished business, the cross also gives us hope that grief will be transformed by the love God shared with you through Sara.
Grief is transformed in part through the love you share with each other here today. Because with Sara’s death, the fabric of relationship is torn. And it’s as if each one of you is given a needle and thread, so that with every story you tell, every laugh with remembered stories, every tear with remembered grief, every silence shared that cannot be filled with words, you are stitching your relationships together in new ways that continue to reveal Sara’s shape, making God’s love complete in loving each other.
With the remarks concluded, you’re invited to continue sharing time, food, and stories.
And now hear this blessing:
May God bless you and keep you,
May God’s face shine on you with grace and mercy,
May God look upon you with consolation and (+) give you peace.
**1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us.