Sermon for Carla Behnke

  If you were to come to visit Christ Church in December chances are good you would see a collection of beautiful nativity scenes in our display case in the commons.  For several years now there have been many different crèches from all around the world.  They came in different sizes, different materials and certainly many different colors and shapes.  These belonged to Carla.

  Carla loved Christmas and she loved preparing for Christmas.  So, I think it is entirely appropriate that I begin the message today by quoting from a well known Christmas song, “The Little Drummer Boy.”  I’d like to call your attention to the line in the song that says, “Do you see what I see?”

Do you see what I see???

   Last summer we held our annual luncheon for those in our church who have been members 50 years or more.  Faith Friendly made an appearance at that luncheon. She brought with her a small collection of rocks.

  What was so interesting about these rocks is that on the outside they were rather plain and ordinary.  They were basically rock colored, nothing special.  Then Faith Friendly showed us the inside of the rocks and they were beautiful.  The light sparkled and shone in different colors.  Each one was unique and each one was lovely in its own way.

  The message of the rocks meant a lot to our senior members.  On the outside they looked like ordinary old people, but on the inside, they had been made beautiful by a lifetime of receiving God’s love.

Do you see what I see?

   Many hundreds of years ago now, around the 8th century BCE, the prophet Isaiah lived and spoke God’s words to God’s people.  It was a time when the Assyrians threatened to invade and cause all kinds of hardship.  The prophet Isaiah spoke this word of hope to those who were living in fear: (11:1-3a, paraphrase)

  People of God, fear not for I am sending you a new kind of king.  He will be descended from your ancestor Jesse.

  The spirit of the LORD will be on him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and might, a spirit of knowledge and reverence for God.

  He shall love God with all that he is and he shall not judge by what his eyes see.

   God sent this message of hope to the people who felt forgotten, left out, scorned, those who lived in fear.  Yes, people of God, you look around and you see the Assyrians and you are afraid…..Look deeply, look deeply and you will see me.

 Carla had many gifts.  One of the gifts she often employed was the ability to look deeply into people.  She was able to give to them what I have heard described by a Mayo physician by the name of Dr. Sood, as saintly attention.  That is, she looked on others with compassion, acceptance, love and forgiveness.  This kind of saintly attention reminds me of one of our newer hymns which is called “Child of Blessing, Child of Promise.”  Carla looked at others in that light.

  It is winter in Minnesota.  We have a lot of snow still on the ground.  The last few mornings have been especially cool.  But, if we were to look deeply we would see the shoots deep underground, promising that spring will follow. 

Do you see what I see?

  Last week we began the season of Lent.  We had ashes put on our foreheads to remind us o the barren places in our lives.  Lent reminds us to turn away from that which pulls us away from God.  It calls us to turn back to the One who loves us with an everlasting love.  Lent calls us to look deeply and find the promise of Easter.

Do you see what I see?

  Dear Carla, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, family member, church member, community leader, friend….this child of blessing and promise has died.  Once again , I ask you to look deeply.

  Carla is embraced by the One who made her.  She is face to face with her creator.  I imagine the two of them are delighting in what they see.

Nancy Wheeler Handlon

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