Friday, 2 September 2011

Homily for Roy Underwood

Here is a copy of what I will be saying later at the Memorial and Thanksgiving service for the late Roy Underwood...

Those words of Bishop George Appleton, inspired by words of the Indian poet Rabindrath Tagore, resonate with the words and sentiment of St Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 which Rob read for us earlier. They are words that were clearly an inspiration to Roy. And as we gather to thank God for for him and all that he has and will continue to be to us, the themes of faith, hope and love are ones that we rightly focus on today.

Many of us will have received love from Roy and Brenda over the years, whether professionally or personally. Roy could only give of what he had received, from God. Roy knew and had experienced the love of God for himself in Jesus Christ - a love which knows no limit or boundary or end, that not even death on a cross could contain. It is a love which calls us to love not just those whom we like, but all. And Roy did in every aspect of his life.

Roy’s love, most often demonstrated in action, was built on the foundation of a strong faith, something that shaped his life as a husband, brother, father, friend, mentor, teacher, colleague neighbour - in so many ways. Roy’s relationship with Jesus Christ was something that sustained and resourced him and gave him hope. Whilst I did not have the privilege of knowing Roy as well as many of you, even in the last weeks as I spent times with him, I saw hope spring eternal.

Jesus meets with us today offering us the same relationship with Him that Roy knew, transforming not just our future but also our present. If faith in God through Jesus Christ is only an insurance policy cashed in at death, it is almost worthless.

Roy reminds us that Christian faith is about God transforming our lives, knowing that Jesus calls us to follow Him, to live and to love better in the now - loving others as we love ourselves, to reach out and support all in what we do, in what we say, and in who Jesus is making us to be.

If we like Roy place our faith in Him our hope will not be disappointed. As we thank God for Roy, today must be hallmarked with faith, hope and love; the love that God has for all of us, demonstrated by sending Jesus, and through faith in Him the hope that Jesus therefore offers each one of us still.

Today must be about faith, hope and love. Faith in God as a central theme of Roy’s life - lived out in a love that impacted so many people in different but very tangible ways. Leading to a hope that reached it’s fulfillment by faith, through death.

In Roy we have seen and experienced so much, and as we thank God for his life, I believe he says to us - borrowing Bishop George Appleton’s words: ‘...I will offer my recognition of the Lord who comes to me in the guise of death, to lead me to the home he has prepared for me...’ Amen

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