Recently, I was out walking
close to our home here in Ft Walton.
It was a relatively quiet evening, not too cold…
And the night sky seemed like it was as big and wide as Texas.
For a few moments looking up,
I felt like I had been transported back to my childhood…
to a wrinkle in time when I was just about 19 years old,
and remembered a day when my father had died
suddenly of a heart attack.
A time, which I now can call…
an "instantaneous, pivot of life."
Meaning - one moment your life is in place,
and a split second later,
everything has changed forever.
And so, I looked up
into the vastness of our enormous universe
and simply said…Wow!
Look at this creation…
Look at what God has made,
and all of life’s glorious complexities.
But, you know God,
“I still have a lot questions for ya”…
How is it that in a few weeks we’ll begin to see
hundreds of beautiful purple and white Crocus’
starting to pop up and reach to the sun for new life?
How can it be possible, dear God,
that we live on a planet
where we can clearly see your hand in nature.
You are not a mystery.
You have given us life and cause…
But far too often, now
we continue to experience,
at a moment’s notice,
the precious, sweet gift of life torn away, from us.
How can this be?
Where are you in all of this…
So many contradictions?
So, few answers…
Do you remember…
the popular 80s song writer, Karla Bonhoff --
wrote a lot for Linda Ronstadt.
I think Karla tried to answer this when she wrote:
"We never know where life will take us,
we just never know…
And we never know when death will shake us
and we wonder how it will feel."
Well, today it feels pretty awful, doesn’t it?
Remembering that same feeling,
I walked back up our drive way,
and I heard a voice coming from next door…
it was a small child’s voice,
it was as clear as a bell.
The little girl said, only four words,
“Because, I love you.”
There it was…God’s answer!
Here I am - in full bloom.
God loved David Darnell into being
on a hot August day in 1971,
and from that very moment on
David has been a shinning light
for countless people…
Rich and Poor,
Black and White.
But, maybe David’s Godmother, Carolyn Scott,
said it best –
“our world is a much darker place now without David…
but I believe Love enhances, Love enriches,
and most of all, Love will endure.”
Betsy, Jasper, Ruby, Ben, Kai…
Sharilyn, Mary and Cloyce,
Davie, Connie and Jimmy –
all the cousins.
Jesus weeps with you,
and will never abandon you.
God loves you!
Someone once defined grief as “the pain of letting go.”
And I like that.
I think it accurately describes what we do
every time a loved one dies;
we have to let go, ready or not.
And so, today we gather here in this beautiful space
to continue our grieving,
and not so much to find absolute answers.
But in this grief, let us never forget
that what matters most for people of faith…
whether you are Jewish, Catholic, Baptist,
or on your own spiritual journey,
we can all NOW fully understand…
Which is - the God of Abraham is the source of all life
and when we die
each one of us returns to this very same source
of goodness and love which has created us.
And, if that’s not a message of hope…
then I guess, I don’t know what is.
Hope and Love are simple, Free gifts.
It doesn’t take a Biblical scholar to figure that out!
They come under the heading called -- Grace.
It was in the midst of a cold Maine winter in 1848,
when the Shaker hymn writer Joseph Brackett, once wrote –
“‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of Love and Delight.”
It seems to me this is exactly
where David is today, isn’t he?
With the Resurrected Christ,
surrounded by Love and Delight.
And so, David Lee Darnell
Today, as you enter the New Jerusalem…
We lift you to God.
We left you to God with all the love of our heart and say…
good bye and thank you in the very same breath.
Thank you for your loving presence in our lives…
You will always be loved.