An abridged version of the sermon preached at the funeral of Koreen Davis, Harwell School Secretary, who died on 6th January 2015.
Koreen Jennifer Davis was one of life’s beautiful things.
He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.
Today we have been sharing our memories of Koreen and giving thanks to Him for her life. Koreen loved and was loved by so many, and that makes it so difficult to accept and to understand why she is no longer with us. Why did she have to go?
There is so much in this world that is beyond our understanding. Science can discover great things and philosophers can have amazing insights – but even the greatest can’t answer all our questions.
The Bible says in Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever”. We don’t know why Koreen had to go, but Jesus revealed something about God’s plans that should give us comfort.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled”, Jesus said to his disciples. He was at the time telling them about his own death. But what possible comfort can there be when faced with the death of a loved one? Jesus went on to explain: “My Father’s house has many rooms”.
Koreen made a lovely home for her family. She knew the importance of having somewhere where you can feel safe, where love can be shared, and where you truly belong. Our heavenly Father knows this too, and has space enough for all of us in his heavenly home. However unworthy we feel and however many things we have done – or not done – that we regret, there is still a place for us in the Father’s house.
Jesus goes on to say that he is going to his Father’s house to prepare a place for his friends. He does this by his death and resurrection. Jesus dies a horrible, untimely death, so that our greatest enemy – death itself – may be defeated. Jesus dies and rises again so that we can go to the Father’s house.
Jesus makes a journey through death and out the other side so that when we take that journey into death – which we all will one day – we, too, might arrive safely at the Father’s house, if only we hold tight to Jesus – the one who describes himself as “the way, the truth, and the life”.
Our final hymn is the Harwell School leavers’ song. It speaks of a journey:
One more step along the world I go,
One more step along the world I go…
And it's from the old I travel to the new;
Keep me travelling along with you.
Jesus alone can bring us safely to the Father’s house, because no one else has made that journey through death and defeated it for us.
Jesus offers to those who will join him to go on a journey. It is a journey from the old – a world in which we age, get ill and die; a world in which terrible, incomprehensible things happen. It is a journey to the new – a life in God’s new creation, where sickness, suffering, death and mourning will be no more. It is a journey to the Father’s house where there are many rooms. And it is a house that is full of beautiful things.
Revd Dr Jonathan Mobey
Rector of Harwell and Chilton