Funeral Sermon For Grace Kot / Saturday August 19th 2017
Text: John 14:1
Theme: His grace comforts our hearts
Intr – Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to meet Grace for the first time. It was in the Santa Maria Manor down on Regina Avenue. I am pretty sure the way I met Grace was not at all the way you met her. As you know, in her last years Grace had some health issues that affected her mind, but the image that you as family, relatives, and friends have of her from years ago is certainly a completely different one. Moments of joy and sadness, moments of talks and of silence; moments together and moments apart. Moments in which you enjoyed the company of each other. Above all, moments. Those special everyday gifts God allows us to enjoy.
When I saw Grace that day, and then one more time later on, I saw a lady who was already greatly affected by health issues. But one thing I am pretty sure never changed. Her faith. Her confidence in Christ. Her adoption as a Child of God. How do I know that? Because faith was not kept in Grace’s heart, nor in any of ours, because of her own strength, intellectual activity or personal ability. Faith, for Grace and for each of us, is a gift of the Lord through His Holy Spirit, which is also maintained and sustained by His gracious will. And, if there’s any doubt left it can be confirmed by the fact that in that day, when we first met, she received her last Holy Supper. And we know from the Scripture that whenever the Holy Communion is received in faith there is forgiveness of sins, salvation and life everlasting.
As I gave her communion I was reminded also that while it was the first time I met Grace, it was not the first time she was met by grace – the grace of God. Since her Baptism God outpoured His grace in her heart - as He did with us. It was not the first time that His grace blessed Grace, sustained Grace, kept her and walked along with her in the path of the Lord. Because she was reached by the grace of God, and grace made her a child of God all her life long.
This is the main reason to celebrate and be thankful today. We can thank our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for being her personal Saviour, Comforter, Friend, and, earlier this week, the One who came to take her to her rest in Him while we wait for the last day, when by faith in Christ we will be reunited to Him in Heaven.
In John 14 Jesus says to His disciples: Let not your hearts be troubled. Now, that is really hard! Because our hearts do get troubled. We are weak, we stumble, we sin. And the problems and difficulties in life get our hearts troubled way more than we would like to admit. Especially when we are faced with death and we have deal with grief and sorrow. Jesus comes to us and says: “believe in God, believe also in Me”. He comes close to bring that peace that calms our troubled heart. He draws us near by faith to hold our hands and comfort our hearts.
This is what God’s grace brought to Grace’s life. And being reminded of this provides us all with reasons to be thankful to God as well. As we realize God’s action in her heart, giving and maintaining her faith, we are reminded that this Divine Grace is for us too. For each one of us. No matter where we live, how we live, or how we feel about this. I mentioned “how we feel” because sometimes we don’t feel close to God. Or we do not feel God near us. Sometimes we don’t feel worthy. Sometimes we don’t feel clean. Sometimes we won’t feel happy, especially when grief and sorrow overtake our hearts. Sometimes we just don’t feel.
In those moments, it is always good to remember that, no matter how we feel, God’s promises never changed and will never change. That is, His Word is there where it always was and where it always will be. The same Scripture. The same comforting, uplifting, and life-guiding Word is always there - which means that sometimes when we can’t trust what we feel, we can always trust what we know.
And we know by faith in Christ that He is our God. We know that because Christ died and rose again, we will all rise again. We know that those who die in Christ will rise for eternal life. We know that in Christ we will see our loved ones. We know that ressurection is not a theory but a fact to be confirmed in the last day. We know that heaven is not simply an idilic location, a make believe place from a tale, but the actual place where we will live forever with God. And we know that, while here in this life, we may walk in tears and sorrows many times. But He will always be near, through faith, to bring peace to our troubled hearts.
Cc – In our meeting on Tuesday this week, Colleen made a special request about including a little bit from of last Sunday’s Sermon here at Mount Olive which was on Matthew 14 - Jesus walking on the water and calming the storm down before His terrified disciples.
That’s why I will ask you now: in the midst of a difficult time – like griving a loved one or any difficult time in life, if your cellphone rang, Which of these would be of great comfort to you?
-Hello! Is it mr/mrs so and so? We have a special offer for you today!
-Hello! Do you have five minutes to answer a survey and qualify for free breakfast tickets?
-Hello! This is (so and so, the person with which you have an issue). I want to talk to you
-Hello! It’s me!
Only three words. But I do believe the last is the first one you would choose. The person doesn’t even need to say their name because you know. All they need to say is: “it’s me” and you know them right away.
Jesus came through the storm and stood before the disciples. He said: it is Me. So, He won’t leave you and me alone as well. He comes to be close. To let our hearts not be troubled.
Now imagine if your phone really rang in the midst of your troubles. And you could hear that special voice saying: it’s me.
(Phone, voice of Ted Giese: “Hello! It’s Me. I am your God, your Saviour, your best Friend. Do not be afraid. Call upon Me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you and you will glorify Me. I have even the hairs of your head numbered, I have your name engraved on the palm of My hand. Do not be afraid. Come to Me when you are tired of your heavy loads. I will give your rest. Do not be afraid. It’s Me.)
You actually can hear Him. Every day. He speaks through his Word to your heart. He reaches His hand out to you. He holds you all the way. Do not be afraid. His gracious hand held fast to, and holds fast to, Grace Kot all the days of her life in Him. And His Grace that met you back that first time will hold you fast until the last day. His grace will lead you home.