Funeral Sermon for Sue McCann – 12.10.22

+ In Memoriam: Sue McCann – December 10th, 2022 +

Psalm 103; Isaiah 65:17-25; Philippians 4:4-13; Luke 24:1-12

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“The Gardener”

 

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

There’s a line in the classic book, the Secret Garden, that came to mind this week…“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” As I read it, I couldn’t help but think of Sue.

 

For if the world is a garden, our dear sister in Christ, Sue, was one of those people who had a God-given gift and ability to be a gardener, a caretaker, a planter.

 

On any given day if you were to drop by the McCann house, that’s where you would most likely find Sue, cultivating her garden. Trimming the roses; picking the raspberries. Preparing plants for gifts that many of us have received from her over the years. Tending the dill, garlic, and cucumbers that would eventually make their way into jars of pickles, much to the delight of family and friends alike. I have it on good authority that Sue became quickly known as the pickle grandma among the grandchildren of the family.

 

For Sue, the garden wasn’t the only place she spent time planting, sowing, and gardening. There were countless hours spent cultivating the McCann home, nurturing and raising a family…children, then grandchildren, who, in the words of the Psalms, grew up around the family table like olive shoots. No doubt, each cared for by Sue with her green thumb and loving heart.

 

That, of course, is no accident. For Sue loved as Christ had first loved her. By water and word, our Lord grafted her into His own death and resurrection. In the waters of her baptism, Christ the Vine made Sue one of his precious branches, and throughout her life, she bore the fruit of faith in Christ. After all, the Lord had made her, as he makes all of us who believe in him, good trees joined to the tree of his cross who bear fruit by his love and forgiveness planted and sown in our hearts and minds by His living, life-giving word.

 

Wherever Sue went, she was a gardener, a caretaker, a planter. At home she sowed seeds that grew plants, here at church she sowed the seed of God’s word. She planted God’s word and tended to the hearts and minds of those she taught in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School; in preschool and ladies’ bible study. She knew that apart from God’s word, apart from Christ the Vine, we wither and die. But she also knew that in the Lord’s word is life and blessing, like we hear in Psalm 103.

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul,   and all that is within me,  bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
 and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit,  who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good  so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

 

Even as she laid in bed battling cancer – to the eyes of the world, weak and ill – she knew that the Lord would do what he promised. He would tend and care for her and bring her healing, if not in this life, then in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. She knew and trusted and believed that it was the Lord who strengthened her, despite feeling weak and sick. Sue knew and trusted and believed in the Lord’s promise from Isaiah 65…

 

“For behold, I create new heavens   and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered
    or come into mind.

Isaiah’s words are words of hope and comfort. They direct our eyes up from this fallen and cursed dirt of death and the grave and beckon us to look forward to the new creation that came for Sue and for you in Jesus’ dying and rising. To a day when cancer and all disease will be no more. Where hospital beds will no longer be needed. Where we will once again walk with our Lord Jesus in the cool of the garden in the new heavens and the new earth he is preparing for Sue and for all who die in the faith.

 

This is what gave Sue comfort even in her last days, and what gives us comfort today, knowing that she and all who are baptized and believe, are rooted deeply in the love and life of Jesus. We are cultivated in the love of Christ crucified. All of those things Sue loved – her love of plants, her love of people, her love of Jesus – it was all sown in her heart and mind by the one who has the greatest green thumb of them all, our Lord Jesus.

 

It was at his word that God, the holy horticulturist, first spoke creation into existence, creating a beautiful garden out of nothing. It was at his Word that even in the midst of Adam and Eve’s sin, God promised a Savior from sin and death and the curse. It was at his word that Jesus took on our human flesh to die and be buried, and sown as a seed in the ground only to rise again three days later to bear the fruit of resurrection and victory over the grave.

 

As the angels told the disciples on that first Easter: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 

 

Everywhere Jesus went, and in everything he did, he was the gardener, the caretaker, the planter. Jesus was sown in death on Good Friday, sprouted and rose again to new life on Easter Sunday so that when he comes again he will call us and Sue and all the baptized out of our graves on the Last Day. Jesus wore a crown of thorns of this old creation so that in his dying and rising he would crown us in glory, make us into a new creation, and raise us from the dead with a glorified, resurrected body.

 

For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

 

On that day, the Lord who called creation into being out of nothing will once again speak, call us each by name as he did Lazarus…Sue, and all the faithful, arise. And we will. Out of the grave and into his new creation.

 

On that day we will be raised as Jesus was, in the flesh; free from sin, disease, and death. Free for an eternity of praising the Lamb who was slain for us all.

 

On that day we will stand in the presence of our Lord Jesus and rejoice with Sue and all the saints in the new heavens and new earth created by him who died and rose again for us all.

 

Until that day, as Sue once told me, we keep our eyes on Jesus. For Jesus the Gardener who planted and cared for Sue will plant, tend, and nurture you in his word and promise. For Sue and for you, the love and promises of our Lord Jesus crucified and risen never fails, fades, or withers. Jesus’ love for Sue and for you is perennial. His mercies are new every morning. The grass may wither and flowers may fade…but Jesus’ word and life, for Sue and for you, remains forever.

 

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus to life everlasting. Amen.

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

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Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
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By appointment only June and July

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Milton, WA 98354
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