Funeral Sermon For Lenora Hegglin / Monday January 2nd - 2017
Funeral Sermon for Lenora Hegglin: Monday, January 2nd, 1pm, 2017 at Speers Funeral Home Chapel by Rev. Ted A. Giese from Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Regina Saskatchewan. John 14:1-7
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. I've been told that Lenora loved company. Loved visiting and having people over. And when Herman and Lenora entertained guests it would inevitably be Lenora who would say something like, "you're not leaving already?" "you're not leaving already, are you?"
The disciples had just had the Last Supper for the first time, it was the night in which Jesus was being betrayed, Judas had left the table and slipped off into the night to do just that, supper was over and the next stop was the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives for prayers, and Jesus - knowing that His crucifixion and death were about to take place, says to His disciples, "yet a little while I am with you. You will seek Me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’" Confused by all of this Saint Peter says to Jesus, "“Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered [Peter], “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for You.” What Saint Peter didn't yet understand was that it was Jesus who was about to lay down His life for Peter and for you and Lenora and for us all. Peter was saying, "you're not leaving already?" ... "you're not leaving already, are you Jesus?" ... "where are you going?" ... "I'd rather die than see you go!" And Jesus at first says, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow afterward.” Then Jesus says what we heard in our Gospel reading today, "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?"
Now Lenora has not gone to prepare a place for you, sometimes you hear people say things like, "they'll have the table set and the drinks poured and supper fixed when you get there to heaven, just you wait and see," but that's not what Jesus promises. His promise isn't work for the one whose death has come before yours, no Jesus promises rest and peace. Jesus says, "Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." And it is Jesus, "The Good Shepherd," who Psalm 23 says, prepares a table for you ... who anoints your head with oil, who makes your cup overflow, who gives you all that you need so that you would never want for anything ... it is Christ Jesus then, who has gone to prepare a place for Lenora and He has gone to prepare a place for you too.
And when The Last Day comes and all the dead are raised and we see our Lord Jesus return to us in the same way that men like Saint Peter and Saint Thomas saw Him ascend into heaven, on That Day we walk bodily into Eternal Life, to fully enjoy the place Jesus has prepared for us. To sit down at the table He has set for us, to take up the glass that He has poured for us. In the time between, in these days, when faithful women like Lenora pass into the blessed rest of Christ Jesus, when they die in the faith, it is Christ Jesus who takes them to Himself, and they then are "where He is," and as Jesus would say to the thief on the cross, who was crucified next to Him, “today you will be with Me in paradise,” He says the same to Lenora and to you. Yes, in the time in between men, women and children with faith in Christ Jesus rest in paradise with Him. And Jesus takes thieves and sinners or every kind, people who the World calls "saints" and the worst of the worst, and everyone in between, He takes me and you and Lenora, each of us with our faults and sins and troubles and with the Blood He shed on the cross, the death He died there, Jesus washes away our sin and gives us Life. Gives us the promise of paradise and when our time comes He gives us paradise itself. For this reason Jesus is for all of us. The paradise He promises is as much for Lenora as it was, and is, for the man who died next to Jesus on Good Friday, and for Saint Peter who asked Jesus, “Lord, where are You going?” and for Saint Thomas who asks Jesus the important follow up question, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” This paradise is for us all.
And Making it crystal clear Jesus responds to Thomas' question of, "How can we know the way?,” saying to him and to us all, “I am the Way" ... “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Except through Jesus. The paradise Jesus promises to you, to us all is only attainable through this Jesus, and Jesus gives it as an undeserved gift. As a Christian Lenora knew this, believed it, and trusted it. This promise belonged to her for 90 years and this promise is fulfilled. She is now with Christ Jesus in paradise, she with all the faithfully departed now await The Last Day with us, when we will, with them all, be raised up to Eternal Life together in Christ Jesus.
And this is where that bitter sweet question that Lenora often asked comes back in, the thing she'd say when the party, the visit, the get together was winding down, when she'd say something like, "you're not leaving already?" "you're not leaving already, are you?" You see the paradise to which she has gone, the physical Eternal Life to which she in Christ Jesus is headed, the Eternal Happy Reunion of the faithfully departed, the Eternal visit, the wedding feast of the Lamb of God, Jesus' wedding feast, the feast with no end, has no end. No one, least of which Lenora will ever have to say, "you're not leaving already?" No one will ever have to say, "you're not leaving already, are you?" Because we will be together in Christ Jesus forever. And while I didn't have a chance to know Lenora on this side of life in Christ Jesus, I am looking forward to The Day that I will be able to know her in the way you've known her these many years. I am confident that That Day will come because both Lenora and I have something in common: We are both Christians and have in Holy Baptism been washed in the Blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord; and because of Jesus' death on the cross and His glorious resurrection Lenora and I will meet for the first time, in our heavenly home, that eternal home prepared for all Christians by Jesus.
Be then encouraged just as Lenora and Herman opened their house to others Herman and Lenora's heavenly Father opens His house to you. In Fact your Heavenly Father opens His House to everyone. Jesus has made your room ready, prepared it for you and now God the Father welcomes with open arms all those who believe in His son Jesus; and when you believe in Jesus as your Saviour you become His brother, a member of that heavenly family, a child of God the Father. For those of us who are Christians, who believe and have faith, who are baptized into the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus we have this wonderful heavenly home to look forward to, just as Lenora did. A Home where no one has to leave. 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.
 John 13:33
 John 13:36-37
 Matthew 11:28
 John 10:14
 Psalm 23:5
 Psalm 23:1
 Acts 1:11