Sunday, January 13, 2013

Homily - Celebration of Life Memorial Service for Nicholas Anthony Lowe - October 21, 1992 - January 4, 2013

​I love the Gospel story of the Healing of the Paralytic.

Isn’t it true that sometimes in life we all need a little help? We cannot make our way in this world all on our own, no matter who we are and what hand we are dealt in life.

We need the loving care of others to help us to get to where we are going, to lift us up, to join us in the struggle, to be our right hand, or left hand, to help us open the door.

I think Luke’s Gospel story is fitting as we celebrate the life of Nicholas Anthony Lowe.

Nick had so many friends and so many loved ones in his life, a network of support and care these past two years.

They all wanted to help Nick in any way they could.

So many helped him to overcome whatever barriers were in his path in this life and some helped Nick find eternal life.

What beautiful signs of faith,of hope and most of all of love from a village of friends and family who joined Team Nick.

The compassion shown to Nick and his family sometimes from complete strangers is an example of what life should be all about.

There is a beautiful lyric in a song by the band U2 that helps us to better understand today’s Gospel message in light of Nick’s life.

It comes from the song “Walk On.”

“Love. It’s not the easy thing. The only baggage that you can bring. It’s all that you can’t leave behind.”

Let me repeat that...

“Love. It’s not the easy thing. The only baggage that you can bring. It’s all that you can’t leave behind.”

Our human lives are short on this earth. If we follow the example of the Jesus Christ, healer of the paralyzed man, we know that the only real thing that matters in life (the only thing) is love.

Or put by another musical group, Mumford and Sons, “Love it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free. Be more like the man you were made to be.”

Nick became that man in the end. He embraced the love. He shared the love. He lived the love.

Whether it was his special recipe BBQ sauce or a chance to go fishing with family on Puget Sound or hanging with his best friend Stachio playing X-Box.

God is the author of that love. Christ’s human actions here on earth were the embodiment of that love to help us all to better understand how much we are loved by God.

As we see in the Gospel story, love is more than just an emotion or a feeling.

Love is the self-giving acts we share with one another. It’s the things friends do for one another. It’s what family does for each other. It’s the random acts of kindness done by complete strangers.

This is the only baggage we get to take with us as we step into heaven. And nothing else.

All that we build. All that we make. All these we must leave behind. But our shared love with one another is what we get to carry with us on the journey. That is the key that unlocks the door.

Just like the people who so loved the ailing man in today’s Gospel story they brought him to Jesus, the people who have surrounded Nick these past two years so loved him they wanted to make sure the door was open for him to meet his Creator.

This should give us all hope. That someday we too will enter the splendor of heaven, where every tear will be wiped away, where there’s no such thing as pain and suffering, where we will be together again for all eternity.

That reality was the reason for Christ’s self-giving action of love on the cross. Jesus wanted to make sure the doors to heaven were opened for all of humanity

I had the humbling honor of being with Nick and his family in the end.

Nick had told his mom he was having a hard time finding the door. Lisa asked him to promise to give her a sign to let her know he’d made it through the door.

As we both held Nick’s hand last Friday night, we prayed for the door to be opened.

As he breathed his last breath, the door stood before him and Nick walked through it. And in that moment on his face there appeared a smile, the sign his mother asked him to send her to show he had found the door. He had found the way into paradise.

What a beautiful memory we can all keep until we meet Nick again.

As we heard in the first reading, “There is an appointed time for everything. A time to be born. And a time to die.”

Nick understood that. Nick understood that his suffering was his cross to bear and he never complained about it. Not once.

Because of Christ loving act for all of us, death does not have the final word. Life has changed. Not ended. When this earthly dwelling turns to dust, we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven.

For all of us today, this temporary separation is painful. But Nick would not want us to be sad or shed too many tears. He would want us to live our lives to the fullest as a way of honoring his life. Can you hear his voice now?

For his mother, Lisa, Nick was her voice of reason, her wise-beyond-his-years baby boy. She will forever hear his voice in her heart as she navigates this life now without him. But she will do so with the hope that this life is not the only thing there is. There is something more. Something eternal.

For Nick’s family and friends who got tattoos of a sparrow to show support for Nick, the same tattoos of a sparrow I found on both of Nick’s hands, my friends that sparrow has been set free to soar.

So, as we remember happier times with Nick, as we remember that beautiful smile, as we remember our beloved Nicholas Anthony Lowe, let us also never forget:

This is not goodbye. Only see you later.


Nicholas Anthony Lowe's Obituary

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