Sermon – April 10, 2020 – Good Friday

Hopeless, and yet…?

I was working in the office at church. The phone rang. “Could you please come over to the hospital?”  The voice on the other end asked. Sherri was being taken off of life support.  The organ donor people would be arriving this afternoon.

“Absolutely, I’ll be over.”

I hung up the phone and wilted down in my chair, tears forming in my eyes.  I knew that her brain had stopped functioning a few days ago because of a blood vessel bursting.  And yet… her death was a hard reality. Sherri was way too young to die, she was only in her mid-30s. She had so much to offer to the world – so many lives to touch – so many laughs to laugh – hugs to give.

I proceeded to open up my prayer book and my Bible to choose some appropriate passages for Sherri’s final commendation.

“In my father’s house there are many rooms.  I go to prepare a place for you.”  Jesus had told his disciples.  “So where I am, there you shall be also.”  He also had told them, “My sheep hear my voice.  I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.  No one will take them out of my hand.” These words of Jesus reminded his disciples – that death would NOT be the final word.  And yet, as I started putting on my coat I still found myself feeling a sense of hopelessness.

About that time I hear a sound, and it kept growing louder. Oh… it must be a helicopter.  I often would hear helicopters flying over the church heading to the hospital. Then it hit me.

This helicopter was flying in to receive the organs and tissues the family was donating from Sherri’s body. At the same time that we were grieving and commending her to God’s everlasting care, there were people we didn’t know, who were praying fervently in hope for new life from the organs and tissues that Sherri would no longer need.

Sherri’s death was real!  It was painfully crushing. But at that moment there was also hope that God was bringing new life from death.  We knew from the promises found in Scripture that death would not be the final word for Sherri as she entered eternity with her Savior. And death would not be the final word for those others either, getting a second chance at life.

Tonight we gather beneath the cross of Jesus. We stand here with the remnant of those who were courageous enough to stay with him during his horrible crucifixion and death.

Jesus had so much to offer the world – so many lives yet to touch.

For all those gathered around the cross his death seemed so hopeless.

And yet…

Jesus had promised that death – even his death – will not be the final word.