My Mother’s Legacy – The Definition of Love (1 Corinthians 13)

On a personal note, I offer my gratitude for all who are here today.

On behalf of my family words cannot express the incredible display of love that we have encountered.
My mom’s life lives on through the generous display of Christ’s unending grace that fills this place.
Her legacy is one that stretches far past the walls here.
I once heard a story about a boy who walked by a pet store.
In the window he saw a sign that read “Puppies for Sale $25.”
He anxiously went into the store and asked the owner “Is it true that there are puppies for sale?”
The owner responded, “Yes there are puppies for sale.”
The owner whistled, and out came a dog named Lady followed by seven puppies attempting to keep up with their mother.
Coming from far back in the distance was a little dog who had a physical deformity and could not keep up with the other dogs.
The boy’s attention was immediately drawn to the puppy.
In excitement, the boy proclaimed, “I would like to buy that puppy that had trouble keeping up.”
The owner responded, “That puppy is not for sale.”
“But I want that puppy,” replied the boy.
“Look that one is not for sale.  You are more than welcome to purchase one of the other puppies.”
The boy would not take no for an answer.
The owner finally gave in and said, “I will give you that puppy free of charge.”
The boy was outraged.  “Look mister, I have 25 cents in my pocket.  I will gladly bring you 25 cents each week until you receive the full amount for the puppy.”
Finally the owner said in absolute frustration, “Look son, you don’t understand.  That puppy is very different.  It will not be able to run and jump like the other puppies.  It will always limp.  It will always fall behind!”
Just then the boy raised his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted ankle.
“That’s okay,” said the boy, “I think he will need someone who understands.”
This is a story, much like the love my mother shared with all who came into her path.
Her consistent fight for the underdog along with her passion for life brought a real life portrait to the definition of love as seen in our reading from the book of First Corinthians.
Her life was a testimony to the fact that she believed, as the Apostle Paul wrote, that, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things.
I saw this at home, in her family, her union, and her church.
In her work, your cause was her cause.
She would tirelessly fight for those who had little to no voice.
Never did I hear her say to me that someone was not worth the fight.
All the person had to do was express a need, and she was there.
If you were a politician, and she believed in your cause, she was a strong ally and formidable opponent.
She personally took on the successes and losses in a campaign.
She took the journey with those she supported.
In our family, she would insist that arguments could last no longer than two weeks.
She refused to support anything that separated us.
Anyone who knew Ruby Jane knew that family meant everything to her.
Many times I meet people who know my mom and my first reaction is to apologize for having to hear endless stories about my children.
Secretly I loved the fact that my mother adored my children above everything else.
Her unwavering belief in the goodness of others was a life- long lesson about which I still learn.
She taught me, and many others in this room, that there is that divine spark of goodness that calls us to act better and treat each other with kindness.
She hoped at times when all hope was lost.
I can tell you from personal experience that this woman maintained faith in the goodness of all people.
She was a living testament to the Good News of hope.
Ruby Jane Jensen was a true witness to the message of Christ.
She lived the definition of love as set forth in the reading from 1 Corinthians.
Because we knew her, we understood love in a different way.
Our lives would never be the same.
I once read the definition of an angel.
An angel was someone who came into your life for a measure of time and, once leaving your life, you are never the same because they had been there.
Angels can come into our world for a season, an hour, a minute, a second, a moment.
This description sounds like my mom.
While not being perfect, her commitment to life and those she loved created that rare spark of holy love that transcends all obstacles.
I believe that my mom opened her eyes on the other side and the first words she heard were from God as the Divine said, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Published by joekmac

I am a pastor in the United Methodist Tradition. I am the Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Belen in the New Mexico Annual Conference. I am married to Cazandra and have two sons with hemophilia.

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