Summary: Funeral sermon for one who has died in the Lord
1 ¡§Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father¡¦s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.¡¨ 5 Thomas said to him, ¡§Lord, we don¡¦t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?¡¨ 6 Jesus answered, ¡§I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Dear Family and Friends of Shirley Wilkening:
To send someone we love on a journey can be a frightening experience. We know the time is approaching; we plan for weeks or months. Everything is in place and well rehearsed. Still when the time comes, there can still be a knot in your stomach as they leave, still some doubt -
ƒ® What have I forgotten?
ƒ® What can’t I plan for?
ƒ® Am I sure everything has been covered?
Today we send a dear friend and family member, Shirley, off on her journey. The journey for which she has been preparing since the day she was baptized and God the Holy Spirit created faith in her heart. A journey which Shirley knew was coming and because of the faith God gave her, she was prepared to take. Yet, for Shirley¡¦s friends and family there may still be a mixture of emotions today, one of which is fear. Fear because today we stand at the most shattering spot in the entire world ¡X an open grave.
It is a time at which we must all face our own mortality as well as the mortality of the one we love. It is a time when the words of God recorded by St Paul in his letter to the Romans weigh heavy on our minds ¡V ¡§The wages of sin is death.¡¨ These words bring questions to our minds.
ƒ® Am I ready for this moment in my life?
ƒ® Am I prepared for my death?
ƒ® How will I face this moment when it comes?
When we have questions about death we need to stop and listen, listen to Jesus and hear His word which tells us, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." but it can be hard advice. This is no time for trite words, easy assurances. We do not like to think about death if we have any doubts about our own readiness. But still Jesus says, ¡§Do not let your hearts be troubled." These are words more for us than they are for Shirley.
This was a difficult time for you as a family, the last few weeks were spent in the hospital and finally the nursing home, but it was also a good time to spend together. Shirley would have wanted nothing more than to have family close. It was a time to remember the gifts of God to you, and one of these great gifts was Shirley. The times I met Shirley for devotion and the Lord¡¦s Supper, she was always welcoming and ready for a chat. Our time together showed me that she was a woman of faith, who treasured her family and her church. She would tell me stories about fishing and going to visit her family in the various places they lived. But most importantly our time together was spent hearing the Word of God, confessing her sins and receiving the assurance of forgiveness through our Saviors body and blood. And because of this time together Shirley knew that her future was secure no matter what direction her illness would take.
Shirley had little reason to fear death, as the time approached, because she trusted the words of Jesus, ¡§Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father¡¦s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
Over the past two years that I have been her pastor, Shirley would go in and out of the hospital dealing with her illness but she would always go home a few days later. When she would go home from the hospital we would talk about how her room was not ready yet. It wasn¡¦t time for her to go on the final journey. But if it was she was ready to go to her heavenly home. She knew that Jesus had a place prepared for her. Shirley was certain that she would spend eternity in the loving arms of Jesus.