Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Funeral Sermon for Betty Moore: "Jesus, Your Savior in All Seasons"

+ In Memoriam – Betty Moore +

Redeemer Lutheran Church
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Revelation 21:1-7; John 14:1-7

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh…

Solomon’s words ring true in our years, especially today. There was a time to be born and a time to die for Betty. Just as there is a time to be born and a time to die for all of us.
But this was not always so. In the beginning there was only a time to be born and not a time to die; a time to laugh and never to cry; a time to dance and never to mourn. The Lord God looked upon all that he had made and behold it was very good. The world knew nothing of weeping and mourning and death.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

Now it seems that is all we know. All we see on the news, all we read in the papers (if haven’t stopped reading them yet because they’re too depressing), all we hear on the other end of the phone lines from family and friends seems to point us to the grave. It seems that we do not live under heaven but under hell, not life but death.

Yes, Solomon’s words ring true. But they do not tell the whole truth. For that we need Jesus’ words in Revelation:

Behold, I am making all things new.

You see for Betty and for you, sin and death are not the only season. They are but the fall and winter. Cold and cruel to be sure. Harsh but temporary.

Christ was born, lived, suffered, died, was buried, and rose from the dead in order to begin an eternal Spring and Summer. If there is a time to die, then there is also a time to rise. Christ is greater than our sin and death. Christ’s death overcame death. By his resurrection he thawed the icy grip of the grave upon him and upon all who are called by his name. Yes there is a time to be born and a time to die, even for God. God was born for you, lived for you, suffered, bled, died, and rose for you.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

And so for Betty there was a time – September 22nd, 1922 – to be exact, where she died and was born all in a matter of a few moments and three splashes of water. I baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Behold I make all things new. Betty’s Baptism was truly a time to die. Her sin was drowned and washed away. And her Baptism was also a time to be born. A time to receive the new birth from above, to be born anew by water and Spirit, born a new creation by Jesus command and promise: Let there be life. And behold, in God’s eyes, Betty was very good. In fact she was better than good. She was perfect, holy, sinless. All of that because of all that Christ did for her on the cross and poured over her at the Font and fed her with at the Altar.

This faith in Christ is the confession of faith that Betty received at Baptism. This was the faith that gave her strength when there was a time of depression or a time of plenty. She lived Solomon’s words about a time for planting and harvesting, and a time for casting away and gathering stones.

This Christian faith is the firm foundation that Betty – and countless young Lutherans like her – received as they learned and studied and memorized each week in Sunday School and Church, in the home and later in confirmation class. And she simply carried her faith everywhere she went, from her family and friends in Lancaster, OH all the way to her family and friends here in Huntington Beach.

This faith in Christ also led her to a life of service to others. Freely she received Christ’s mercy, freely she gave to those in need. Especially as a nurse, and a teacher of nurses. She knew that there’s a time for tearing and a time for sewing.

But above all, this faith in Christ gave her words of comfort. Words she learned in from the wisdom of Solomon, comforting words resounding John’s Revelation, and the Good News which comes to our ears straight from the lips of Jesus in the Gospels.

Words like we hear in John’s Gospel:

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 

Yes, there is a time for death and mourning and weeping. But for you who mourn and weep, Jesus has words of comfort and assurance. For Betty, and all who rest with Christ, Jesus promises:

“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Yes, there is a time to mourn; but there is also a time to dance. For death has no dominion over Jesus, over Betty, or you.

Yes, there is a time to weep; but there is also a time to laugh and rejoice. We see and hear that now in part in the Scriptures, hymns, and promises of Christ in Baptism and in the Supper. We will see and hear it in full voice before the throne where the Lamb of God makes all things new.

Yes, there is a time to die; but there is also a time to rise; a time to be planted in the earth for a rest from our labors; and a time to be plucked up from our graves by our Lord Jesus Christ.

And then there will be no more time for sin, and sorrow, and tears. No more seasons. No more fall and bitter cold winter of death. For the former things will pass away. These words are trustworthy and true. It is finished, Jesus declares. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He was for Betty. And he is for each of you as well in every season of his life, and in every matter und heaven.

Christ has done all of this for you so that in every season of your life you would know that you have a Savior who has endured everything under heaven and earth for you.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment