|Sermon delivered by Pastor Kroll
October 20, 2001
There are times when we look out from our lives and nothing makes sense, not our lives, not
our places in things, not events. Without warning, like a thief in the night, evil reared its ugly
head and changed our world. It seemed for a while as if life were a frenzy of events, and then
later - time seemed to stop and every moment of grief was like a life-time.
Faced with the pain, the injustice, the insecurity, the senseless tragedy - we share many
emotions such as anger, disbelief, anxiety, pain and protest: because it is too hard to believe
Cindy Deuel no longer is with us physically. We have had to come face to face with the reality
that the vibrant, loving life of Cindy was with us one minute and gone the next.
In scripture there are examples of many things that would threaten to steal the God-given gift of
love from us. In fact, God's own son was taken from him in a most brutal manner.
What we have to understand, and know by faith, is that death is not a dead-end street. And
whatever sorrow and loss we experience, God does not abandon us. We are told in Psalms
that, "the Lod almighty is with us" as "an ever present help in trouble." In Romans, Paul says
that nothing can separate us and that "we are more than conquerors thru him who loved us."
Our life does not end with death. As Victor Hugo wrote, "the tomb is not a blind alley, it is a
thoroughfare. It closes on the twilight, it opens on the dawn."
Even though Cindy's life has been brutally stolen from us, her life has not ended. Her life is
clothed anew in immortality, as Paul would say in I Corinthians. We do go on in the flow of
life. Death is not a dead-end street, either for Cindy or for her friends and family gathered here
today. Life goes not backward but forward.
To me, it's like the poem called, "The Rose Beyond the Wall." It goes like this...
Near a shady wall a rose once grew
Budded and blossomed in God's free light,
Watered and fed by morning dew,
Shedding its sweetness day and night.
As it grew and blossomed fair and tall
Slowly rising to loftier heights,
It came to a crevice in the wall,
Through which there shown a beam of light.
Onward it crept with added strength
With never a thought of fear or pride,
It followed the lights through the crevice's length,
And unfolded itself on the other side.
The light, the dew, the broadening view
Were found the same as they were before,
And it lost itself in beauties new,
Breathing its fragrance more and more.
Shall claim of death cause us to grieve
And make our courage faint and fall,
Nay! Let our faith and hope receive,
The Rose still grows beyond the wall.
Scattering fragrance far and wide
Just as it did in days of yore,
Just as it did on the other side,
Just as it will forever more.
We are told in Revelation that the dwelling of God is with us. Will wipe every tear from our
eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things
has passed away. He who sat on the stone said, "I am making all things new."
And now in the shadows of our grief, and in the perplexity of our unanswerable questions, and
in the indescribable sense of loss, isn't it good to know that death is not a dead-end street? Isn't
it good to know that Cindy's life has not ended, but continues on the other side.
One of the things that will keep Cindy alive in our lives, is the reminders we have of her. She
has touched our lives in many ways that will continue on in us for the remainder of our days
here on earth.
Even though her body has disappeared from us in death, it is not the end of her nor the end of
her movement of life being projected through us.
We will continue to see Cindy in many ways. And as the days move on, the weeks, the years
we will see clearly the things we love most in Cindy, even as the mountain climber is clearer
from the plain.