Pastor Mary talks to the congregation:
I would like
us to take a trip through time and also enjoy a
taste of eternity.
Sit back please, and if you can relax. Let your
imagination be your guide. Go back in
time to a day so long ago none of us can remember. It
was a day that happened only once in every four
It was February 29, 1932. The scene is in Erie and Leona and
Nicholas have a new baby.
The named him Nick, after his dad.
into the world the way all of us do. He looks
tiny when his mother holds him. He fits
into the crook of his father's arms His
parents, their families, their friends are joyous at
the birth of this tiny one, a special gift on this
happened before so much else happened. This
happened before Nick grew to boyhood, then to
manhood. Before he met Rita and married
her. Before Skinner Engine and maneuvering those big
cranes, before putting on the badge of auxiliary
police officer. Before becoming a dad of twin
step-daughters. Before all the nieces and
nephews. Before swinging in his garden swing
on warm summer days.
But let me
tell you something. I was not there to see it,
but I believe it with all my heart: Nicholas
Schroeder started out as a baby, a child, someone
small and new, with an entire life ahead of him.
And he drank
the glass of his life down to the bottom, like a
hardworking crane operator drinks a beer on a hot
summer evening. His life stretched like some
bright banner stretching across more than eight
decades. He enjoyed it: family, working,
fishing, and so much else. Now it is over: the
whole delicious, dignified, precious story that got
started on a wintery day. Although small in
stature, this grand man seemed far more frail
recently than he was then back when he was a small
bundle in his mother's arms.
We would be
excused, I suppose, for taking this evidence and
deciding that Nick, the old auxiliary police
officer, had only a one-way ticket: that his life
was like a day, with the sunrise over Lake Erie,
hours full of experience and activity, and
then a sunset late in the evening and then no more.
We would be
excused for believing this, I suppose. So much
leads us to see a human life like a map unfolded,
with movement from eastern sunrise to western
sunset. East is one thing, West is another,
and as is often said, never the twain shall meet.
Or do they?
The priest and poet John Donne advises you take the
unfolded map, that flat piece of paper, and curve it
around the globe for a much more accurate
representation of reality, how the world actually
is. Notice what happens when you do this.
Wrapping your arms around the globe, you find that
east and west, two opposite edges of the map, are
forced to touch. The are not so far
apart. They are neighbors.
Wrap the map
of life around the globe, both Nick's life and your
own, and you find that east and west meet and match.
The opposites touch. They are neighbors. Death
seems to sever life, but in reality it opens the way
to new life, something more wondrous than we can
I would like
to share with you a poem written by Charles Henry
Brent "The Ship"
standing upon the seashore and see a nearby ship
spread his white sails to the morning breeze and
start for the blue ocean He is an object of beauty
and strength. I watch him until at length he is only
a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky
meet and mingle. Then someone at my side
exclaims, "He's gone!"
Gone from my sight, that is all. He is just as
large in hull and mast and spar as he was when he
departed and just as able to bear his load of living
freight to the place of his destination. His
diminished size is in me, not in him. And just
at that moment when someone cries, "He's gone,"
there are other eyes watching for his arrival, and
other voices that take up the glad shout "There he
life we imagine that is across the sea is given to
us through Jesus Christ. Its fullness awaits
us after death, but we can begin to taste it now,
through faith, in a hundred ways. Jesus was
born for us, he died for us, now he lives forever;
and whether we live or die, we can find true life in
in 1932 happened before so much else happened for
him: his rich life, his good life, for which we
thank God. Nick's death in 2016 happened
before so much else happened for him: an eternity
with God and God's people.
The love of
God for us is visible in the cross. It runs as
bright threads through the days of life on earth.
Yet it is a love too much for this life alone. It
needs all the room of eternity.
eternity awaits! But until that time
occurs for you, drink deeply of the Living Water, a
water that "will become a spring of water gushing up
to eternal life"