Rev Martin Cockerill's talk From Dave Troops Funeral
Reading - Romans 8v31-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
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.
Dave’s life was one that showed the extremes of God’s love and transformation. Dave was someone who loved God and loved the church. In the Church Dave received one thing no one else would be able to give him - God’s love. Dave loved the church and loved being loved by the church. For someone with little stability in huge parts of his life, the Church allowed him to be more than a conqueror.
Despite his addictions in life, he was able to be loved by God. God didn’t demand perfection from Dave or the church, rather God demands that we love each other with grace and generous patience. It’s true some people are easier to love than others, but we are not to differentiate between them. Grace is grace is grace.
It's one of the great mysteries of the gospel, that is both simple and complicated. We are loved not for our achievements but because of our existence. We are loved because we exist, and we exist because God created us.
Dave was a conqueror because of what God did, because of the love God has towards us. There is nothing we can do to separate us from God’s love. This can lead us to two extremes - either belief we can do what ever we want and still be forgiven or push us towards putting a heavy burden of expectation on each others shoulders. Both miss the point!
How then do we think of Love - it’s such an elusive word. One helpful way of thinking about love is to compare it to water. Water, when poured out, flows to the lowest point - love, just like water, flows unstoppably downward, around every obstacle we might put in its path. Love and water seek not the higher place but always the lower. It flows down so that those caught in it float up. However low we or others might fall - love’s nature is to flow below - it cannot do anything else..
God’s love flowed down to meet Dave, and to meet us - we are not beyond being carried up by God’s love for his creation.
I love how much Dave loved being loved by the church fellowship. Whether that was the comfort he got from sitting in the lounge and being served aa glass of water - or the spur of the moment requests to go home.
The love of the fellowship of our church and many local churches - carries the best and the worst of us through our journeys of faith. It’s important we value the takers as well as the givers in our fellowship as when we do that we value God’s economy not our own.
I continue to be challenged and inspired by those wise men and women who go ahead of us in their journey of faith. One such person is Richard Rohr, below is a quote that speaks to the depths of my faith;
“The Crucified and Risen Christ uses the mistakes of the past to create a positive future, a future of redemption instead of retribution. He does not eliminate or punish the mistakes. He uses them for transformative purpose. People formed by such love are indestructible. Forgiveness might just be the very best description of what God’s goodness engenders in humanity.” Richard Rohr - The Universal Christ
I thank God for Dave Troop and I thank God for the Church.