Summary: Funeral Sermon: For the funeral of a 44 year-young woman called home by the Lord after a short, acute and pernicious illness. She is survived by her young adult children, by her parents and by seven brothers and sisters.
Let me express my very sincere condolences to each and every member of ______ (name of immediate) family. ______ (name of children) – for a short time, you’ve parted with your mom. ______ (name of parents) my prayers are with you. You’ve lived through the saddest thing that a parent can see - the passing of one of your children. And to all the brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, uncles and aunts and friends - you’ve had to part with someone you love.
I cannot tell you not to feel sadness. On the contrary, I, and the whole family of faith, commiserate with you. We’ve all lived through this kind of sadness. We’ve had to part with those whom we love. Death has come to cast its dark shadow into our homes and into our lives too. We’ve felt before what you feel now. And so, we come to let you know that we are with you in these difficult moments. You see, it is as we go through these common, shared experiences that we’ve been called to gather and support each other and to call on the name of the Lord for help.
It is OK to feel the sorrow, beloved. It is OK to mourn. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” With these words, our Lord Himself says that feeling grief when a loved one dies is OK. It’s human. The feelings that surge and the tears that flow are evidence of the love that you shared with ______ (name of deceased). And so it’s OK to feel sorrow. It’s OK. And it is at such a time as this that Jesus invites us to lean on Him – to look for blessed comfort from our God. So let us share our sorrow with God. Let us turn to Him with all our pain and our grief. And let us listen to what He says to us though his Word.
One of the reasons that we sorrow is because we believe that we will never see ______ (name of deceased) again. Many years ago, the Christians of Thessalonica also mourned. They mourned because God had called their loved ones home – just like He’s called ______ (name of deceased) home. They mourned for all the same reasons that we do. And there was a pastor there named Paul who cared about the believers. And Paul shared these words with those who mourned:
1 Thessalonians 4.14-18: 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
Paul comforts the believers by pointing them to the death and resurrection of Jesus. “Every believer shares the forgiveness that Christ won by his death,” says Paul. “And so, every believer will also share in Christ’s resurrection.” Any believer - any person who trusts in Christ, will live for eternity. ______ (name of deceased) is living in that eternity my brothers and sisters. And God’ promise doesn’t stop there. He promises that one day Jesus will return. He promises that we will be gathered to Him and be reunited with ______ (name of deceased) at our Lord’s side.
We can take comfort because we know that it is Christ who has and will make this reunion possible. It is not us nor our ability or strength that will make it happen. If it were up to us – there would be doubt. But because it all hinges on the work that Christ did through the cross and resurrection – we know that we will see ______ (name of deceased) again. We don’t have to do anything but trust in that cross and resurrection just like ______ (name of deceased) did, and God promises a reunion.
Beloved, we also sorrow because we saw the suffering that ______ (name of deceased), our loved one, went through. I heard ______ (name of those who attended during illness) speak of the agony that ______ (name of deceased) went through. Beloved, I want to tell you now – that is over. Our loved one will never suffer again. I cannot explain to you why ______ (name of deceased) suffered. Only God knows. ______ (name of deceased) said to me while she was in the hospital that she didn’t know why she was going through the trial. But she said that she knew that good could come out of it. Isn’t it interesting that God says the same thing: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.”