(Jesus said) "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4
They're a few facts you should know about Serina Vine.
First, you should know that Vine was a veteran of World War II. From 1944 to 1946 she worked in radio intelligence. Maybe she served in that position because she spoke three different languages.
Second, you should know that there was a time when Vine was homeless. Before she moved to the Washington, D.C. Veteran's Hospital, she had no place to hang her hat.
Lastly, you need to know that when Vine died, she was alone.
Vine had no family and she had few living friends. She had nobody left to mourn her earthly departure. That's why it was expected that only four people would show up for her service.
Now to be fair, Vine, from her present location, was never going to know if there were four or 40,000 people present at that send off. Further, if by some circumstance she did find out, it wouldn't bother her one way or another.
But it did bother Army Major Jaspen Boothe.
Feeling "We serve together, so therefore we should not die alone," Boothe did her best to give Vine a fine farewell. She got on Facebook and urged people to attend the service or send someone who would. The major's work paid off. When she arrived at the funeral, there were already 200 people waiting.
I like that. It says a lot about Major Boothe; it says a lot about the retired and active-duty military folk who showed up; it says a lot about the folks who lived near the National Cemetery.
It says a lot about respect and honor and doing the right thing.
Two-thousand years ago it was that same spirit which took some women to the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. The women knew He was dead. They had seen the efficiency of the Roman death squad. They knew Jesus would remain unaware of their ministrations. Still, out of respect and a desire to do the right thing, these women got up before dawn to finish Jesus' burial.
Instead of finishing the job, they were among the first to see the risen Redeemer. They were first to see that God had changed everything. Because of the resurrection, sin and Satan were no longer in control and death would no longer have the last word.
All of which leads me to muse: my friends, in many of our congregations we have folks like Serina Vine. These people, having served the Lord during their more active years, have outlived family and friends. As a result, their funerals are small and go almost unnoticed.
I think that's kind of sad. It's kind of sad that although Serina loved going to church, it was an Army major, not a church, which honored the old veteran. Far better for the family of faith to remember and give thanks for those who paved the way for us.
It would be right for us to remember our departed brothers and sisters -- not for them, mind you, but for us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for the new life which has been won for me by the Savior, I give thanks. Grant that I may honor Him by loving those whom He has loved. This I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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