Celebration of Samantha by: Rev. Steven L. Johns-Boehme

It is amazing how little words really say. A simple description of a life lived. And in the end, it doesn’t really say much, does it, Samantha?

More than words, it is the people who have gathered here today to say good-bye that really says volumes. This says more about a life lived. It says that once in a blue moon there comes along a person, regardless of age, who is able to affect so many lives.

When the news went out about the crash, everyone who heard became a parent. When the news went out, everyone who heard became a friend. When the news went out, everyone realized what the word loss means.

Everyone who knew Samantha, really anyone who ever met Samantha, knew she was an extraordinary human being. Her faith in the goodness of life was absolutely unshakable. She had wisdom beyond her years.

God will have a difficult time deciding where to use her. With the angels, definitely that will be the place. But will he put her with the angel-philosophers? That would be appropriate if you ever read her tweets.

Maybe God could use her as an outside hitter on the volleyball team there, or maybe on the tennis courts?

It is doubtful that he places her with the angel-mathematicians – numbers were just not her thing. This is somewhat reassuring for us mere mortals, when faced with someone like Samantha who seemed so perfect. Once in a blue moon, comes along a person like Samantha.

The looming question all of us have is, “Why?” The honest answer to that question is, “We don’t know.” The looming question is why. The honest answer is that we don’t know. So the main question for us is, “What do we do now?


The shortest verse in the New Testament is, “Jesus wept.” It is found in the Gospel of John. Jesus wept in front of Lazarus’s tomb. He was late arriving and his friend died. I think we forget too often that Jesus had family and friends. Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, were friends, and he always spent time at their house when he was in Bethany.

Jesus wept, I believe, because he saw how the death of Lazarus affected those left behind. He may have known it intuitively, but now he realized it viscerally. He wept because he saw how death leaves a hole in the fabric of creation.


So what do we do now? How do we repair the hole in the fabric of creation left by Samantha’s death?

One of Samantha’s tweets gives us direction. She tweeted:

This is life.
Live it up.

We repair the hole in this life. We live it up by holding onto to one another. Gather and remember like today. Come together and live. Realize that we are stitched together with one another until our unique thread unravels. Re-stitch, re-gather, embrace.

We come together and remember Samantha. We remember that -

Once in a blue moon there comes along a person
who opens a new window on the world,
providing a fresh breeze
and a view of what we have overlooked.

Once in a blue moon there comes along a person
who offers a different commentary on life.
Life is not getting and spending but sharing.
Life is not impressing and being impressed but enjoying.
Life is not being first in line but it is serving those who stand in line

Once in a blue moon there comes along a person
who takes our old vocabulary and pronounces
the words as though they have been newly minted.
Grace, faith, hope, love, peace, joy are not ancient language, but common currency.
They are stations along the path of the heart.

Once in a blue moon there comes along a person
who gives new categories for understanding and expressing our faith.
It is not enough to think only of true or false,
but also of wonder.
It is not enough to think only of right or wrong,
but also of beauty.
It is not enough only to walk the walk,
it is sometimes proper to dance.

Once in a blue moon there comes along a person
Who does not hold back her life and considerable gifts,
but sets them on the banquet table for us to receive.

This is life. Live it up.

And so this is what we do now. And when we do, be prepared for those moments that will come when we all knew those days when the moon was blue. Amen.

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