Sermon: Light up a Life 2008
Preached on 9th November 2008
by The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove
Light and life belong together. Each child that is born, every new life that comes into the world, is another priceless gift, another cherished soul, another point of light. And when our loved ones die, it's easy to think that their light has been extinguished, is gone forever.
But one very important way in which we know that is not true is through our memories. Perhaps the most important thing we do for those who are given to us is to hold them in our minds and hearts - this is what we do every day of our lives and every day of theirs, And to come here tonight, on Remembrance Sunday, to light up a life and to remember and pray for the departed is to remind ourselves and one another that this task of ‘holding' in mind and heart doesn't stop with death. It goes on, even when our memories are touched by sadness, or pain, or regret. It's something we do for those who have died, just as one day, other people will do it for us.
Just now we heard the words of Jesus: ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life'. So when we light up a life tonight, it isn't simply that we hold up the light of their lives to ourselves, important though that is. It's the light of Jesus himself that we hold up to one another, the light that bathes all our living and dying in hope: Jesus who lost those he loved, as we do'; Jesus who faced death himself, as we do; Jesus who rose from the dead, as we believe we shall.
For there's a third word that joins ‘light' and ‘life' in the gospel. That word is ‘love'. Light, life and love belong together in each of us, and in God himself. We light up a life because we love the one we no longer see. But there is one whose love is even stronger than ours, that endures for ever, that holds every child of humanity in its everlasting arms. For God himself is love. He loves us in our birth and our living, in our childhood, youth and ageing, in our health and sickness, in our joy and in our sorrow, and in our dying, and in eternity. We love, because he first loved us, and loves us to the end.
So we kindle a flame to lighten the dark, and take all fear away, for perfect love casts out fear. In the risen Christ, we find hope once more - for those we love, and for ourselves, and on this Remembrance Day, for our world and all its peoples in their longing for the new dawn of light, life and love.
At the Hospice Service Light up a Life