Summary: Many young pastors have asked me to share with them ideas on how to create a funeral message. Here is one such example for a family that appreciates the traditional format of worship. Peace be with you.
A funeral sermon for the family and loved ones of Werner K____.
February 14, 2004
Grace, mercy and peace to you all from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Dear family, as you know Werner wanted to have the hymn, “Take my life and Let it Be” sung today. He knew that the hymn was in fact a prayer. In fact it is one of the most moving prayers I know. When we sang this hymn this morning, we were basically asking God to take control of each soul here in this room. That is what your husband and your father wanted. He wanted you to all find comfort in this day, when comfort is often not an easy thing to have.
This is God’s purpose for us today as well. He too wants us all to find comfort in this day and also I believe God wants us to cling to the many joyous memories that He gave to us all, so that along with clinging to that OLD RUGGED CROSS, we can also cling to the joyful contentment that comes with good memories. My prayer is that after this day, we may all look back and see God’s hand and his mercy taking hold of this entire family. That mercy was there even from the beginning as Lois and Werner first heard the news of Werner’s latest trial.
So let us now take a look at some of those memories. I think we all prayed that there would be an extended time for Werner and his family to spend with each other, that is, as long as Werner was still Werner and basically remained unchanged by his trial at least on the outside. And God granted that time to spend with him, so that we could all create many fond memories that came with visits and conversations.
When Werner was at the Oakland Care Center, he shared with me His reason for why he thought God was allowing this trial to take place in his life. He was happy because he felt that his trial, was bringing his family even closer together than they were before. It’s a goal that all parents have. Our Father in heaven has that same goal. We all know we can never get too close to Jesus because there is always room to grow with Him and in truth we can never really draw too close to each other either. Your dad told me that all the stuff he was going through was worth it, if it meant that His family was closer today than they were yesterday. That is what he held onto. So that was Werner’s take on why God allowed this trial to take place in his life. And it is a very biblical take on what was going on. Look at what God did to heal the tension between Jacob and Esau. Jacob got a bum hip out of the deal, and before that Jacob had one trial after another, but in the end, these trials softened the heart of Jacob. That story is something to think about when you are wondering why God is allowing that new trial to capture your attention. But we know, that whatever trial God allows to take place, it is always meant for good. It is always meant to bring some sort of victory to our life. That is why we can rejoice even in the face of death, because even in death, Jesus gives us victory.
Going back to those memories now, I think you all as a family discovered a lot of good new memories and reacquainted yourself with some old ones plus I think we can all agree…you created some new ones for Werner. When you all gathered together as a family with your dad, and husband, I believe you gave to Werner a little bit more joy, even though he could not tell you how he felt. We laughed about some of the stupid things kids do to annoy parents, we joked about some interesting memories, and even one little shocking memory…right Rich? Then there were tears shed, and intimate moments between family and father, and husband and wife. God gave you all that one last moment to be with your dad/husband, to say goodbye and even see a little response from him where science said there should not have been any. When he moved his eyes as we sang an old hymn, or when he moved his fingers as we laughed with him in spirit, he let us know in his own way, that he was with his family. You all drew closer together that night, and Werner was a part of that effort. And then Lois… on the morning that God took him to be at rest, you shared with me that it was just you and he one last time, your daughter in law came up with a very wonderful insight. She said, “he was with his bride one final time.” A bride whom he loved to shop for! A bride whom he loved to cook for, a bride whom he loved…period.