Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Funeral Sermon for Roger A. Magee

Roger A Magee Funeral
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

July 1, 2009

John 6:37

“Not Cast Out”

Family and friends of Roger, grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Our text for today is from the Gospel of St. John chapter six as follows, All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

Roger A Magee was born on June 28, 1960. He was baptized into the Holy Christian Church. He was confirmed in that same Christian faith here at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. He died on June 28, 2009.

In the midst of such a tragic and evil death, it is very easy for the Christian to be caught up in the moment, to be cast into despair by Satan, and to begin to ask those questions that the serpent asked Eve in the Garden, did God really say? You begin to doubt what you know to be true. You may begin to ask questions about Roger and what happened with and to him. You may ask questions like “How did it come to this?” or “Why does God let children die before their parents” or “Why didn’t I do anything?” or even the most doubting question of all, “I can understand why this would happen.” In the midst of sorrow and heartache and pain, and at times when nothing seems to make sense, and when all you have are more and more questions, where are you to turn? What questions do you ask? What answers are you going to get?

It is important in the midst of such sorrow for us to know what we can and what we cannot understand. Our unanswered questions, seem to leave gaping holes that it feels like will never be filled, may easily deafen us to the reality of the questions that God’s Word clearly answer for you and I this morning. These questions which God answers in His Word are far more comforting, far more helpful than anything that our souls or the world may try to answer for us. What do we know for certain?

First of all, we know that Roger is baptized. Notice I didn’t say was baptized. I said is baptized. When God baptized Roger, that changed everything for him.

Jesus death on the cross and His resurrection from the tomb now became his. He became God’s own child. Roger was reborn by water and the Spirit. We learn from the Scriptures that Baptism works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare. He is covered in the robe of Christ’s righteousness. God’s promise given to him in Holy Baptism is powerful and eternal. When God made that promise to him, all of these great gifts which God paid for on the cross became his. That’s a big promise. The righteousness of Christ covered him in the holy waters of Baptism. Only the baptized have that assurance. All of his sin is covered up. All his sorrow and pain are removed. Even death itself is covered up. It is the robe of victory, and it flows from Holy Baptism.

Second, we know that he heard God’s Word and received Christ’s body and blood for the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. He was confirmed in the Christian faith right here, at this altar. When God makes promises in His Word, He keeps them. So we trust God’s Word. Roger’s confirmation verse summarizes this all, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:14.

These promises of God, given in Baptism, in His Word and in His Holy Sacrament, point us away from ourselves and our trials and tribulations, and point us forward to a life in Christ Jesus. This life in Christ, we often call it heaven as the Scriptures do, is a life where there is no sin and sorrow. There are no debts to pay, no addictions to overcome, no squabbles or fighting, no pain, no sickness or disease. This life in Christ, which Roger received in his Baptism, points us outside of ourselves, and points us to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of God.

Roger’s death has brought sorrow and heartache, pain and unanswered questions. There are a lot of tears. And yet God’s love is measured by the cross of Jesus Christ summarizes it all. Saint John writes, For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Trust in the mercy of God, dear friends in Christ. God loves you, just as He loves Roger. Christ died for you, just as He died for Roger. The Spirit comforts you now in your time of weakness and pain, for when you are weak, He is strong, and He will see you through this vale of tears to an eternal life in Him. Don’t be afraid. God is with all His children. Jesus said, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37). Believe it for the sake of Him who died and rose again, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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