August 25th: The Burial of Dr. Marcos Valle

Dr. Marcos Valle’s funeral was Tuesday, August 25, 2020. The gospel text for the service was John 14.1-6. The Rev. Joseph Peters-Mathews, vicar, preached using the below manuscript.

In the name of God in whom we were baptized:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
In our passage tonight,
Jesus is telling his friends goodbye.
He’s loved too big.
He’s taught too much
about the fullness of life
and challenged the relationship
between religion and empire
in Jerusalem.
He tells his friends goodbye
by showing humility in washing their feet.
He gives them a new commandment:
Love one another.

In our passage tonight,
Jesus offers them reassurance.
He’s predicted his death,
but the disciples don’t believe him.
They don’t think it’s his time yet.
They’ve learned so much from him,
and they know there’s so much more they could learn.
Jesus’ disciples aren’t ready for him to die
because no matter how much time they’ve had with him,
they know it won’t have been enough.

Tonight we’re gathered together —
not how we might imagine or prefer —
to commend Dr. Marcos Valle
to his creator
in whose image he was created.
Marcos lived his life
following Jesus’ teachings
and seeking to show the world love:
boundless love, as JamesDaniel has said.
He served God in this church
for over 20 years:
leading a prayer ministry,
writing amazing prayers for our Sunday services,
serving on the board
and helping with the finances.
Marco has been appreciated
at Edmonds College
for as long as he’s been appreciated
in this congregation.
He’s loved in his Trade Joe’s family, too.

Tonight we gather as we remember, though:
Marcos has died.
Like the disciples with Jesus’ predicting his death,
it wasn’t Marcos’ time.
Despite warning them and predicting his death,
the disciples didn’t believe Jesus.
They were surprised at his actual death.
Marcos’ death was a surprise with no warnings,
no predictions.
Jesus spends four chapters in John saying goodbye.
It must have taken him all night,
and the disciples still weren’t sure
what to make of it.
Because of this blasted pandemic,
very few of us got to really
tell Marcos goodbye.
His family did, though,
even in their bewilderment
of the reality crashing down on them.

As a part of Jesus telling his disciples goodbye,
he tells them not to let their hearts be troubled
because he’s going on ahead.
He’s getting somewhere ready for them.
He’ll see them on the other side.
They can believe him.
He wouldn’t tell them it was true
if it wasn’t.
He’s got to go,
Jesus tells them,
but he’ll be back
to show them the way.

There’s room for them,
room for us,
in Jesus’ Father’s house.
Jesus is telling his disciples
farewell before he dies.
But his death is not the end of the story.
He rises from the dead,
trampling down death by death,
and to those in the tombs bestowing life.
Jesus is resurrection and he is life.
Through Jesus’ work,
the fear of death
has lost its sting.
The disciples through time
need not let their hearts be troubled
by the deaths of friends or loved ones.
Jesus rises from the grave,
and opens the door
to eternal life.

Although Jesus’ disciples through time
need not let their hearts be troubled
by the deaths of friends or loved ones,
we grieve
just as Jesus grieved
at Lazarus’ death.
Jesus the resurrected Christ
has command over death.
In Marcos’ baptism —
as we’ll be reminded shortly in our prayers —
he was joined to that resurrection.
Marcos has died,
but death has been defeated.
He has gone on ahead with Jesus
to that place Jesus prepared for him
and for us.
In Jesus’ Father’s house
are many dwelling places.
Many mansion is how the King James version puts it.
And we’re here tonight,
praying for Marcos
as he moves closer to God.

Marcos spent his time on earth
teaching people how to love boundlessly.
In the later parts of his life,
he moved farther and farther away from
the faith of his childhood
in search of more boundless love.
He knew, as he told me,
“When the Spirit blew life into humanity’s nostrils,
the Spirit of God was also blown into us,
and, thus, we carry Divinity within.
We are indeed Children of the Most High God.”

Marcos has died,
but Jesus’ boundless love
has defeated death.
He is resurrection and he is life.
Jesus is risen from the dead,
trampling down death by death,
and to those in the tombs bestowing life.
Jesus has gone on ahead
to prepare a place for us.
Even though we grieve tonight,
and for the time to come,
Marcos will meet us there.
Alleluia and amen.

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