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Be Ye Doers of the Word and Not Hearers Only

Homily for Katie Brumley – Year C

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
It’s unbelievable that we are here today, surreal, like a bad dream. Life isn’t supposed to work this way. We aren’t supposed to say goodbye to a beautiful, intelligent, successful young woman with a loving husband and two incredible children. We should be laughing with her, working with her, raising our kids with hers, growing old alongside her as we walk the years together. Let’s speak the truth – it isn’t right and it isn’t fair that Katie died so young with so much living yet to do. Katie’s death is a terrible loss. And so we hurt. We hurt because we loved her and she is gone. We hurt because we can never replace her. We hurt because we must go on without her.
And yet, at the same time, it is good that we come together not only to mourn her death but more importantly to celebrate her life. Katie was an amazing person. To have known her was a blessing. To have shared any of this life with her was a blessing. She had an immense ability to love that she freely shared with others in her life. We have already heard from three of her friends, attesting to the wonderful gifts Katie gave to so many. Who she was, what she did in this life, and the legacy she left, are all worth celebrating. It is good that we come together to say thank you. Thank you God for the gift of Katie in our lives. Thank you for her wonderful smile, her keen mind, her amazing drive and determination, her love of friends and family, and her constant devotion to Hays, Grayson, and Rob.
Katie was a person of faith. She knew she was loved by God and that love was reflected in her joy for living. It’s important to remember that God does not bring about these kinds tragedies. The God I love, found in Jesus Christ, doesn’t cause evil. God didn’t take Katie from us. Rather, Katie’s death is simply a fact of life – this life of ours that is so very unpredictable and unfair. Why God allows such tragic events to happen I do not know. It is a mystery beyond my understanding. All I know is that it wasn’t God who snatched her away – rather I believe with all my soul that the moment Katie breathed her last it was Christ who welcomed her into the Kingdom. And just as Jesus wept over the death of Lazarus, so he grieves with us in our loss.
So, where is the good news in the midst of all this pain? As Christians we say it is the promise of our faith, the promise of Katie’s faith. The promise that says – your life has meaning, my life has meaning and ultimately our deaths have meaning because – God loves us so much God was willing to die for us so we might be free from the power of death. As it says in the Gospel of John – “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” The heart of the Christian faith proclaims that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead for all of us, so that whether we are alive or dead there is no darkness, no tribulation, no turmoil and no evil that can separate us from God. We cannot be lost – death cannot destroy us.
This morning we mourn the loss of Katie Campbell Brumley, but we rejoice in the hope of her resurrection, of our resurrection, we rejoice in the promise of a life after this life. This morning, we not only honor a woman we love but we give praise to the God she loved, to the God who redeems her life. Katie has died but she is not lost because she is and always will be a beloved child of God.
C. S. Lewis once said – “Christians never say goodbye.” One day we will meet again in a place where there is no death, where sorrow and pain are no more, where there is only life everlasting. This, then, isn’t goodbye my to our friend. We’ll see each other in a little while. It won’t be easy without her and we’ll miss her very much. But, thanks be to God for the gift of her life! Thanks be to God for Katie. Amen.

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