by Robert Brow (www.brow.on.ca)
My task as a minister is to help you come to terms with the mystery of life and death. Even when someone goes gently after a long creative life, her death reminds us of our own mortality.
Five years ago I took the service for our friend, Kay Mein. Three years ago you invited me to take the service for Wyn James, Doug's sister. And Enid was there for the service.
Today I am going to remind you again of the children's story I usually use to help us picture what is going on. Jesus told us we had to be childlike to understand the Kingdom of Heaven.
"Once upon a time there was a caterpillar, and she lived on a tree. Her life was crawling from one leaf to another. Crawling and chewing. There were many caterpillars on that tree, and what worried her was that one by one her family and friends went into a cocoon which coiled around them, and they disappeared. People said "They are dead."
One day our caterpillar was very sick, and she lay on her back looking up at the sky. There she saw beautiful creatures (we call them butterflies) flying around. She thought "I wish I could be free to fly around like those creatures." What she didn't know was that those butterflies were members of her own family and friends who had gone into their cocoon.
Then the day came when she felt the silk threads begin to tighten around her. Finally she couldn't move, and she thought "This is the end." But it was only the beginning. Next thing she knew there were butterfly wings on her back, and when she moved them she took off and flew around the garden. The nectar in the flowers was much sweeter than those old leaves she had chewed all her life on the tree."
Now you can see that there is a continuity in Caterpillar life, and death, and rising again. But that is only a picture that God has given us in nature to remind us that death is not the end.
When we die God longs for us, his children, to enjoy life to the full in heaven with him. So he takes a computer reading of all that made up our life. Nothing is lost except things we would rather have taken out and forgotten for ever. Then the moment we die he puts all our longings into a new resurrection body that is suited for the fulness of life in heaven. Heaven in pictured like a city to into which people of all nations bring their contribution. It is also like a garden, and you remember Jesus said to the criminal on the cross "Today you will be with me in Paradise" (a Persian word that means an enclosed royal garden). That is what Enid is already enjoying.
So we do not remember Enid as she was slowly being squeezed tighter
in her nursing home cocoon. But we remember all that was bright and beautiful
in her life, and picture her free to be and do all that she had longed
for, and very much more.