Summary: Funeral Sermon for one who has died in the Lord
Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.
It is these words from our God, Adelaide Fischer’s confirmation verse that will be the focus of our attention as we gather in grateful praise for the life of Adelaide. And we are grateful. Beyond your feelings of sorrow are feeling of gratefulness for having known her, for having experienced her kindness. Adelaide was a victim of the dreaded disease of Alzheimer’s and had spent the last several years of her life in a nursing home. In spite of the fact that her memory was not what it used to be, God kept his promise made to her at her confirmation – that he would watch over her.
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are here to embrace the Fischer family as they mourn the death of a loved one. But we have also come with them to listen to the word of God. At times such as these, when we can be overwhelmed by our emotions, it is important to hear the words of faith, words which sustained Adelaide through the good and hard times of life. God gives us in St Paul’s letter to the Romans words of comfort which assure us that there is nothing - not hardship, nor poverty, nor danger, nor Alzheimer’s, nor death itself - nothing in all creation that will ever be able to sever our relationship with God in Christ. Nothing can separate us from God’s love.
God’s love surrounded Adelaide from the day she was baptized, while she was instructed in the Word of God and confirmed in the faith. God gave her strength through her entire life, and was the centre of many years of marriage. God watched over her and his love surrounded and upheld her even as she lost touch with reality these last years. God’s love was the source of Adelaide’s hope and is the source of our hope today.
So we gather today, in the midst of our grief, to rejoice in the victory our Lord has granted Adelaide. Though she was not great as the world counts greatness, she lived a simple life. Her joys were baking, quilting, and babysitting her grandchildren and these were things the world would not find to be noteworthy. But she was great in the eyes of God. She was great because she trusted that throughout her life God would instruct her and teach her in the way she should go; God would counsel her and watch over her. She was great in the eyes of the Lord because she knew that it was God who had done everything for her – God watched over her by sending Jesus to live for her as her perfect substitute. God watched over her by going to the cross on Calvary’s hill and dying for her sins. And God watched over her by rising from the grave on Easter morning so that she would know that death no longer had any hold on her – She trusted that because Jesus lives she also would live.
It was this same trust that Adelaide wanted for her children – bringing them up in the training and instruction of the Lord, teaching her children and grandchildren about Jesus. And though her mental faculties were plundered by a terrible disease, those are no longer issues of concern. Now she is with her Savior, free from all that bound her on this earth. Now she is without pain or suffering, without the fog of Alzheimer’s separating her from those she loved. Now she is at peace and rest, God continues to watch over her for all of eternity.
But what was true for Adelaide is also true for us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. What God did for Adelaide he will also do for us. “He will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; He will counsel you and watch over you."
God will watch over you and has been watching over you. This same Jesus who died for Adelaide’s sins also died for yours. This same Jesus whose promises of eternal life that Adelaide held onto has the same promises of eternal life for you.
Very soon we will commit Adelaide’s body to the ground but God promises that you will see her again. On the day of the resurrection all of us will be united with our loved ones who have fallen asleep before us. On that day there will be a glorious reunion in heaven.
God has taken Adelaide to be with him – her time of service in this world is over and because of her faith in Jesus she is now receiving what God promises to all who have faith – God promises, “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”