A sermon for Lindsay Spendlove

DACstand St Paul nailed it in his letter to the Romans:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8.35-39

He is absolutely right, but let’s not pretend for a moment that hardship, nakedness, danger or all the rest are anything but what Lindsay described in her very straightforward way as shit. The cancer she suffered from was a rotten one. It took her life. But it is she who has the victory.

Lindsay lived her life in colour. She loved. She loved her Paul, her friends, her dogs. She loved the drama of theatre and the peace of the coast. She loved to find space for herself and make space for others. Honest about herself, she let others be honestly themselves too.

Creativity oozed from her pores. She loved the bright stole, white for Eastertide, that she is wearing in the picture on our service sheet, and to meet her was to meet a bit of Easter, to meet a bit of Christ alive in her.

Being this sort of person comes at a cost. Lindsay’s married surname, but even more her character and life, remind me of words in a poem by W H Vanstone that you may have sung as a hymn:

Hidden is love’s agony,
Love’s endeavour, love’s expense.

Love that gives gives ever more,
Gives with zeal, with eager hands,
Spares not, keeps not, all outpours,
Ventures all, its all expends.

Drained is love in making full;
Bound in setting others free;
Poor in making many rich;
Weak in giving power to be.

The point of course is that Easter, life in all its fullness, is always approached through the sacrifice of Good Friday and the emptiness of Holy Saturday, through death and bereavement. But we must be bold and ask, which would you rather? Is it to be quantity or quality? Is it to be caterpillars or butterflies? Is life to be a long and monochrome munch, consuming all around us? Or do we choose to risk the chrysalis of transformation, new life, sharing life, giving joy, whatever the cost? Will we make it our choice to find love and to spend love, trusting and in fact knowing – because we have seen it Lindsay – that the more we give the more we all receive.

This is the green blade of Easter that so caught Lindsay’s imagination when she was given it by God in a dream, just as the house she called Green Blade after it was so miraculously made hers. The green blade of life de colores as the Cursillistas say, life in colour, life that death can never destroy, life that is there for all who take the chrysalis step of faith and seek it.

Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Thy touch can call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green

Today we raise the hymn of triumph for Lindsay – but she would now pointing us away from herself to Jesus, her Lord. It is his triumph over death, his resurrection, that set her free and can set us free as well.

I have absolutely no doubt that it is into this amazing, resurrection, Easter life of God that we now commend Lindsay. I have absolutely no doubt that her life will live on too in the hearts and lives of the many who have met her. But I long for more, for me and for you. I long for the very life of Christ himself to live in me as it did in her, to live in you. That’s what changes our lives, and changes the world.

Even as we commend Lindsay into the life of heaven, what better time could there be for us to commend and re-commend ourselves into that life too, to choose to live in colour as Lindsay did, not caterpillars but butterflies, not consuming life but giving life through the miracle of Easter Day.

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One thought on “A sermon for Lindsay Spendlove

  1. From Henri Nouwen’s writings in my inbox today: Our Lives, Sowing Times

    Our short lives on earth are sowing time. If there were no resurrection of the dead, everything we live on earth would come to nothing. How can we believe in a God who loves us unconditionally if all the joys and pains of our lives are in vain, vanishing in the earth with our mortal flesh and bones? Because God loves us unconditionally, from eternity to eternity, God cannot allow our bodies – the same as that in which Jesus, his Son and our savior, appeared to us – to be lost in final destruction.

    No, life on earth is the time when the seeds of the risen body are planted. Paul says: “What is sown is perishable, but what is raised is imperishable; what is sown is contemptible but what is raised is glorious; what is sown is weak, but what is raised is powerful; what is sown is a natural body, and what is raised is a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). This wonderful knowledge that nothing we live in our bodies is lived in vain holds a call for us to live every moment as a seed of eternity.

    The wonderful knowledge, that nothing we live in our body is lived in vain, holds a call for us to live every moment as a seed of eternity.

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