Minnesota Veterans Cemetery
Little Falls, Minnesota
Thursday April 10, 2008
We gather here this morning to bury the remains of Bob Bruun. But we are also burying this morning the ashes of his son, Rob. As some of you know, Bob and Rob made a pact not long ago. Rob wanted his ashes placed in Bob’s coffin and buried with him. It’s a beautiful gesture—the gesture of a father and son who loved each other, who cared enough for each other to want to be together even now. Only a son who idolizes his father would want to make a pact with his father to have his ashes buried with him.
And this morning, those of us who loved and cared for Bob and Rob are able to help make sure that that pact has been fulfilled. As we do so, as we gather here, we do so with sadness. It is a sad time for us who loved these two wonderful men.
We have to say goodbye to them. And doing that isn’t easy. It isn’t easy to part from them, even if it is in this beautiful place.
But what is good for us is our faith that there is more to our living than just this life. Yes, saying goodbye to Bob and Rob is hard, but we know that it’s only a temporary good bye. We know today that just as the goodbye Bob made to Rob in December is now a “hello,” so we know that the goodbye we make to the two of them today will one day be a wonderful and beautiful “hello” as well.
We gather here today knowing that we will see them again. We will reunite with them and be with them always. This is what gives those of who are Christians such hope.
For some people, who have no hope, this would be a time of absolute despair. This would be the end of the story. But for us, for us who have faith in God, who know that God loves us in the same way a parents loves a child, a God who promises us that we will live with God always when we are through with this life, this isn’t the end of the story. Not by any means.
Today, we celebrate the beginning—the beginning of a time in which Bob and Rob will never be parted again. Today we know that Bob and Rob are in that wonderful place preparing a place for us as well—a place of great beauty, a place in which we will never part from them or from each other or from God. A place in which there will simply be no more “good byes.”
So, let us say our temporary goodbyes, knowing full well that as we do so, we will one day soon greet Bob and Rob yet again. Let us use the words of this wonderful committal service that has been prayed, in one of form or the other, for centuries. And let us be able to say, today, at the end of this service, what Bob and Rob are now saying in the glorious Presence of God,