Monday, November 3, 2014

Funeral Sermon for Delores Pergrosse: "Citizens of the New Creation"

+ In Memoriam – Delores Pergrosse +
June 13th, 1930 – October 25th, 2014
Redeemer Lutheran, HB
Isaiah 65:17-25; Revelation 21:1-7; Luke 2:25-32

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

Jesus once declared that, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
When you look at Del’s life it’s not hard to find what she treasured; and where her heart dwelled.

She treasured her husband and family. She treasured her extended family of animals those she called her own and those adopted. She treasured her work and time in the naval shipyards as well as her countless hours of work for the border patrol and homeland security. She treasured her work around the church, from helping in the office to playing bells and thousands of things in between.

She treasured all of these things because what she treasured most of all was Christ’s gift of faith given her. She treasured so many things, not because of selfish pride, but because God had so generously provided for her in body and soul.

Del treasured our Lord’s death and resurrection for her because on the cross God reveals how he treasures us. In Jesus’ death and resurrection he declares Del, and all people, his greatest treasure. And just in case we’re tempted to forget what Christ has done for us. He gives us the gift of Holy Baptism. As water, Word and Spirit were poured upon Del her Baptism, God was busy declaring to Del: “You are my treasure.”

In Jesus’ death and resurrection, God declares that we are his own people, purchased and won from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil. In Jesus you are redeemed by his holy, precious blood and his innocent suffering and death so that we might be his own and live under him in his kingdom. And there is no greater treasure than that.

There’s no doubt that Del was thankful that she was a citizen of this country. She loved this country. She was a patriot.
But there was another country she loved even more.

17 “For behold, I create new heavens
    and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
    or come into mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
    in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
    and her people to be a gladness.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem
    and be glad in my people;

Isaiah promises an everlasting kingdom. An eternal country. It is has no borders that need protection and no wars that need navy ships to be built. It is a new heaven and a new earth. No more suffering, sorrow, or sounds of weeping. No more sin. No more death. The former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.

Del is a citizen of this kingdom, God’s kingdom. She is a citizen of Christ’s holy nation, his people, redeemed by his death on the cross. She received her citizenship papers in her Baptism, signed in the blood of Jesus, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and stamped with God’s holy name. Holy Baptism is a passport through death. For in Holy Baptism Del – and all the baptized – are united in Christ’s death and resurrection.

So, in Baptism Jesus’ death is yours; and Jesus’ resurrection is yours. Jesus’ death and resurrection forever changes your eternal allegiance. He gives you asylum from sin and death. You are no longer a refugee, lost in the wilderness of this fallen creation. You, and Del, and all who belong to Christ, are citizens of the new creation.

For Del, and for you, Jesus was born as a child in order to make you God’s own child.

For Del, and for you, Jesus made his home among us so that we would have an eternal home with him.

For Del, and for you, Jesus took all of our sin and uncleanness and death so that we might be a holy people, without spot or blemish.

For Del, and for you, Jesus bore our sin, died our death in order to wipe away every tear from our eyes, to bring death to an end.

For Del, and for you, Jesus rose from the grave, so that when we go to our graves we have hope that in Christ, we too shall rise. We too shall join Del, and all the saints, in that everlasting country where Christ dwells with us and we with him.

For Del, and for you, Jesus the King declares: Behold, I make all things new. Jesus’ death and resurrection guarantees our citizenship in the new heaven and the new earth.

That was Del’s hope. This is our hope today. Even in our grief, we rejoice in Christ’s death and resurrection, for Del and for each of us – there is no greater treasure. Today we join in Simeon’s song: Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to Your Word. For my eyes have seen your salvation.

These words – Jesus’ promises to Del and to you – are trustworthy and true. Jesus is your greatest treasure and you are his. For in Jesus’ death and resurrection you, along with Del, are fellow citizens in Christ’s holy city, the communion of saints.

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


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