Sadly, this is the last of Diane’s children sermons. It’s dated 11 February 1996–just months before she left her position at the church due to increasing ALS challenges. I’ve put off publishing it–partly because I don’t want to stop hearing her voice.
As one of her sisters, I know how difficult it was for us sisters to ask for help. You and I aren’t little gods or goddesses, sent to live perfectly serene and lovely lives. We’re God’s beloved daughters and sons, sent to live in the muck and mire that comes with mountaintops and valleys. We won’t make it by ourselves. We need each other, not just God.
We also need to know the most important truth Diane has learned. So here it is–in case you haven’t already guessed.
11 February 1996
Well….Good morning, folks! This is a special week! There’s a big day coming up Wednesday. Do you know what it is?
…Right! Valentine’s Day! After first worship somebody told me that’s an awfully sneaky way to remind your husband of Valentine’s Day! But what can I say? It works!
Tell you what. This week has another special day. At the early service Clay [Diane’s husband] nearly fell out when I said it’s our anniversary today!
He knows very well that our wedding anniversary is in June! [laughter] June 12! [more laughter] 25 years this year! [more laughter] Okay! Let’s see if he forgets…! [even more laughter]
Actually the anniversary today is special for me and my husband and our family. Ten years ago today our family joined this church. How about that? So it’s an anniversary for us today.
I’ve been thinking about important things that have happened during those ten years. And especially about the most important thing I’ve been learning the last ten years. I thought of something that reminds me in some ways of Valentine’s Day.
On Valentine’s Day we like to tell people that we love them, and make sure they understand how much we love them. Guess what? For the past ten years the most important truth I’ve been learning about is how much God loves me. That’s a super important thing to be learning.
In fact, when I think about the most important thing I want you boys and girls to learn about when you come to church, it’s that God loves you. Each one of you, and all of us together!
God loves each one of us. I’m learning it doesn’t matter what I do; there’s nothing I can do that will make God stop loving me. And there’s nothing that can happen to me that will separate me from God and God’s love for me.
When you come to church and to Sunday School week after week, you learn a lot of things. I think the most important thing that you could learn is that God loves you. So when you think about Valentine’s Day and about coming to church, I hope you’ll remember that it’s not just people who love us. God loves us, and God loves me no matter what. Let’s pray together and tell God thank you for that.
Thank you, Father, for these boys and girls who are here with me this morning. Thank you that they’re in a place today where they can be learning how much you love each one of them. I thank you for the way that you’re teaching me that truth as well, through this church and through other experiences of life. I pray that each of us will understand more and more the truth that God loves each of us, and that nothing any of us does can change that love. Even better, nothing that happens to any of us can separate us from you and your love for us.
These things we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 September 2015
Image from http://www.partiallyperfection.com/god-loves-me-to-pieces/