Pastor Christopher R. Gillespie
Grace Lutheran Church – Dyer, Indiana
27. November 2010
Funeral of Delores Bednar
+ IN NOMINE JESU +
The Lord’s unending blessing be upon you, Bill, Bradley, Brian, Griffin, Patricia, George, Ronald, spouses, friends, neighbors, and fellow believers. I bid you warm greetings from your fellow saints of God at Grace Lutheran Church in Dyer. We mourn the death of your dearly beloved mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. We will keep you in our prayers as we too know the pain of death and suffer with you.
Our heavenly Father does not will to see one of His little ones perish. Today, I stand before you to declare that once again our Lord has kept His promise. He promised that His saints would not see death. Truly, truly, our Lord says. This means you can trust Him without doubt. Whoever hears His Word and believes in the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit has eternal life. Not, had, or will, but HAS. Even now, as you see your dearly beloved’s inanimate flesh, our Lord has kept His promise. Our Lord holds Delores in his arms, while she sleeps as one of His children. She sleeps peacefully in His arms, awaiting the resurrection of the living and the dead.
Our Lord granted Delores and her spouse Floyd a cheerful life. They had the great pleasure of raising three boys. They took trips to the west and Hawaii. There life was a bit unconventional too. After Floyd’s accident, Delores returned to work to support her family. Despite what was likely a difficult situation, Delores continued on as diligent mother, supporting her family. She was not all about work. She found time for bingo and bunco with friends. Supporting her sons in sporting events filled out her free time. Delores was a dedicated wife, mother, and friend.
I understand some of you are in law enforcement. From the perspective of our heavenly Father, Delores led a double life. No, not the kind you see among the criminals. She led a double life of both sinner and also holy and righteous saint of God.
You know that it would be easy now to glamorize or sugar coat her life, forgetting the times she sinned against you, perhaps with an angry word or forgetting something important. In recent years and days, that forgetfulness became serious with Alzheimer’s. Unable to overcome the disease, she forgot even how to care for herself.
In a real sense, though, we should forget. That’s what God has done. He sent Jesus among us, born in the flesh, to suffer with us, even to die for our flesh on the cross. Because Jesus shed His blood as the redemptive price for us, our Father has turned away from our sin. He has forgotten not us but has forgotten completely all we have done that has offended Him and each other.
Because of this death, our Lord began in us a new life, a double identity. In the midst of all Delores’ earthly life she led a double life as a saint of God. She lived as one forgiven by Jesus. This forgiveness was begun in her with the saving waters of Holy Baptism. Salvation was continually worked in her as she served her family and friends and regularly heard God’s Word and received His holy Sacrament.
It is only through our Lord’s mercy that Delores loved you, her sons, brothers, sister, grandchildren, spouses, and friends. Indeed, apart from God, no good thing can come from us. This double life as both sinner and saint, of the world and of heaven, has been finished. Our Lord has finally put to death in Delores her body of sin, taking her soul into His loving embrace.
But that isn’t the end of Delores’ story. She is not merely sleeping. She is sleeping but will soon woken by the voice of our Lord, like the voice of the trumpet and the angel. Truly, truly, our Lord says. You can trust me. “An hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live… For an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”
Dearly beloved, there is an hour coming when our Lord will call out to Delores, “Arise!” On that day, our Lord’s voice will take the dust and breathe into it again the breath of life. Our Lord will resurrect Delores to life again.
This life will be different. It won’t be the struggle of the double life on this earth. It will be the singularly happy life of the saint of God. The day is coming when Delores will live forever in eternal bliss with our Lord. This is our joyful expectation too. All who have heard our Lord’s voice and believe will be resurrected in the same way, to live with Delores and all the holy of God forever. We will seated with them at the heavenly banquet, in blessed communion.
This was Delores’s faith and hope. She trusted in our Lord and I pray so will you. The Lord’s blessing be upon you, Bill, Brian, and Bradley, Griffin, Patricia, George, Ronald, spouses, friends, neighbors, and fellow believers. May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your heart and mind steadfast in Christ Jesus our Lord, even as we mourn the death of our dear Delores. Amen.
+ SOLI DEO GLORIA +