Funeral Sermon For Gerald Schulz / Thursday September 14th 2017
Funeral Sermon for Gerald Laurie Schulz, September 14th 2017 – Bethune Community Hall, Bethune SK / Rev. Ted A. Giese from Mount Olive Lutheran Church / (John 14:1-7 ESV)
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends, family, neighbours. Jesus promises to help all those who believe in Him when He says, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.” This is a promise of rescue from eternal death. Gerald received this promise first in His baptism when in 1942 Gerald was baptized into Christ and became one of His. These words recorded in John 14 are one of the places where God shows His love toward Gerald and towards you. The full accomplishment of this recue from eternal death comes in Christ Jesus’ willingness to die your death in your place. Not simply to give you only the shirt off His back but His body and blood, nailed to the cross and shed on the beams of it’s rough hewn wood for you and for Gerald and for me upon the Good Friday Cross of Jesus’ crucifixion. In that place Jesus loved His neighbour without fault innocently dying without sin, for all of His neighbours, and who is your neighbour, your neighbour is everyone who isn’t you, in this way Jesus died for all.
The writer of the Gospel of John, Saint John one of Jesus’ disciples – who stood at the foot of the cross, a witness to Jesus’ death and resurrection, one of the men who heard Jesus say the very words of our Gospel reading today – also wrote these words from his epistle of 1st John, inspired by the Holy Spirit John writes, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son [Jesus Christ] into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
And there it is, “if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” In talking with the family they repeatedly remembered and talked of the love Gerald had for all of you, even for complete strangers. This love didn’t spring up from nowhere. Gerald had the example of Christ Jesus’ love, and all of Jesus’ promises of rescue and not just the promises but the example of Jesus’ actual accomplishment of that rescue in His Good Friday death and His Easter Morning Resurrection. Behind the mask of Gerald’s love for you is the face of Jesus’ love for you.
The law of God, the law of the land says, don’t murder; while simply avoiding murdering your neighbour is good and we all appreciate it, the fulfilment of the law - which is love in action – you find this, “We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbour in his body, but” … and here’s the part that Gerald excelled in … “but help and support [our neighbour] in every physical need.” Gerald took this way of life to heart. He acted on this. The same is true for the law of God, the law of the land, when it comes to theft, “We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbour’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but” … and here again is the part where Gerald excelled … “but help [our neighbour] to improve and protect his possessions and income.”
Was Gerald an example of this kind of living? From things as small as taking the time to come play accordion at your birthday, to spending time with you in an unselfish way, to big things like helping a family of total strangers with a broken down van when they were down on their luck and had no way of fixing there situation, Gerald showed this kind of practical love in action. I’m glad we are having this Service for Gerald here today in Bethune, in this community, this neighbourhood, with all these neighbours and friends and family where Gerald spent time locally giving and receiving this kind of practical love in action. But even still all of it, all these things we remember, the things Gerald did in love, would be simple a temporary bit of help if you didn’t know why it was that Gerald did any of it; If you didn’t know the motivation for his love; If you didn’t know that Gerald loved you because Jesus first loved Gerald. All these things, both great and small, point to the one who is Love, they point to Jesus, to the rescue Jesus accomplished for you by faultlessly loving you in obedience to His Heavenly Father a love that made Him obedient even to the point of death and to death itself. ‘Jesus Christ is the life of all the living and he is also the death of death our foe.’ This love is a love that defeated eternal death and now gives you a Saviour who reaches out His hand at the hour of death for the Christian, a hand that rescues the Christian in their hour of greatest need.
For all the good Gerald did, he also needed forgiveness, he needed the recue promised by Jesus and accomplished by Him. When a man lay dying there is nothing he can do to save himself from his own death. Yet in Christ Jesus Gerald had this word of comfort and encouragement, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.” In Christ Jesus Gerald had this word of promise, “In My Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.” The good we are called to do we do it not to merit salvation we do it because our neighbour, our family, the even complete strangers need it, and ultimately the good we need most - a deliverance from evil, from everlasting death - we have promised to us in Christ Jesus, and thankfully we have evidence of it in His resurrection and we have a further promise that or deliverance will be revealed on The Last Day, The Day of the resurrection of the dead, when Jesus shall return in Glory in the same manner as He ascended into heaven 40 Days after His resurrection. This is why we can trust His words when Jesus says, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
So brothers and sisters in Christ, friends and neighbours remember the good that Gerald did, the stuff he did for you and others, but do not forget where this love came from and where this love ultimately points to. This love comes from God, from Jesus, and it points to Him. Jesus is your Salvation, Jesus is your hope in the face of death; He reaches out with His nail pierced hand and pulls you to safety in Him. He promised to do this for Gerald in Gerald’s baptism, He promises to do it for you. If you believe this, if you believe the promises of Christ Jesus, if you are not yet baptized and you desire to be baptized into Christ Jesus as Gerald was, than talk to me after the Service today. The hour is never too late.
With this in mind: Love one another as Christ Jesus has loved you. And should you fail in doing this perfectly turn to Jesus for forgiveness: Ask and you shall receive it. Jesus loves to rescues people from their trouble, from sin, from death, from the world. Gerald has received his rescue from these things; By the work of Jesus for him Gerald’s sin is gone nailed to the cross, his pain is gone swallowed up in Jesus’ passion and crucifixion, and now - if Christ is to be believed, Christ who is trustworthy and true - then Gerald now has what Jesus promises in John Chapter 14 and Gerald then is with Christ so that where Christ goes there Gerald will be also tucked away in Jesus awaiting the revealing of the sons of God on The Last Day. Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 1 John 4:7-11
 Lutheran Service Book Hymn, Concordia Publishing House 2005, #420, ‘Christ, the Life of All the Living’ verse 1.
 Ephesians 2:8-9
 Colossians 2:14
 Romans 8:19