Funeral Sermon For Linda Kraft / Thursday August 3rd 2017
Funeral Sermon for Linda Kraft at Mount Olive Lutheran Church Thursday August 3rd 2017 / Pr. Ted A. Giese / John 14:1-7 “The Table is Set”
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. Les, Daryl, Gary, Tammy, Good Christian Friends and family of Linda. What do you need to through a party? What would you need to entertain guests? Linda could answer this question for you. She knows a thing or two about entertaining. First you need a room and if you’re going to serve food you’ll need some kind table, and then you’ll need food and drinks!
While it’s fun to meet new people at a party the best parties are often the ones shared with close friends and family. Today I need you to remember something very important … while you are friends and family you are also guests, invited guests to an eternal party. And more than that in your baptism you are the adopted Children of the one who is having the party. His Son Jesus Christ is the host of the party; it is His table to which you are called. From her confirmation of baptism, for the majority of her whole life here with us, Linda has been at the kids table at this very same party of which I speak and that’s where we who are confirmed and who confessed Christ Jesus as Lord likewise are called to be. In Holy Communion we partake in Jesus’ table, we share a foretaste of the feast to come. Linda has moved from the kid’s table to the adults table. The passage between these two tables runs through the valley of the shadow of death, yet on the other side a table is likewise prepared, in that place there is a cup that runneth over, and in that house goodness and mercy abide forever and you’ll never need to leave the party.
Our Gospel lesson is from the Gospel of Saint John, in it Jesus says to His disciples, “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.” Now it is important for you to remember that Jesus says these words to His disciples on Maundy Thursday, the night before His crucifixion and death. Jesus has just instituted Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, His Supper, the very centre of this eternal party which we are talking about. There with His disciples that night before Good Friday Jesus set up the kid’s table, the one that we Christians all eat at and from there He crossed the valley of the shadow of death where He prayed on the Mount of Olives, and was arrested, beaten, put on trial, carried His cross and died at Mount Golgotha the place of the Skull. With the table set, in Jesus’ death, He provided a mystery, we sing of this mystery in that familiar hymn “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing,” in verse 2, “Praise we Him whose love divine gives His sacred blood for wine; Gives His body for the feast - Christ the victim Christ the priest. Alleluia.”
Now on the other side of death, the resurrected Jesus again ate with His disciples. Near the end of the Gospel of Luke as Jesus’ disciples were receiving reports of His resurrection from the dead on that first Easter, “as they were talking about these things, Jesus Himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And [Jesus] said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Touch Me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when [Jesus] had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, [Jesus] said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate before them.” How wonderful is this simple exchange, “Have you anything here to eat?” Jesus promises to come to us and to take us to Himself, elsewhere He paints the picture of His angels gathering us into heaven by His command. I can see Linda arriving on the wings of angels and quickly asking “Have you anything here to eat?” and with an all knowing smile Jesus would take her hand and lead her into the feast.
Now death has no dominion over Christ and you who believe in Him as Linda faithfully did will have your bodies’ resurrected on The Last Day, just as she will, and on That Day your death’s dominion over you will receive its final crushing blow, your body will be transformed by Christ Jesus to be like His glorious body and you will eat and drink and live in that Eternal Party which will have no end. A perfect body means no diabetes, no pneumonia, no sickness or illness of any kind, no weakness, no cataracts, there will be nothing to obscure or dampen your enjoyment of the house of God the Father, or the room in His house that Christ has prepared for you by His blood, nothing to hamper your enjoyment of the banquet that you will partake in there, in that place.
But, what about today? Because Christ is Eternal and time is a mystery, He, like I said, is both meal and host at His Supper. He makes Himself present in Holy Communion, He sits simultaneously at the kids table and the adult table, in the Communion liturgy we raise our voices to sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” with angels and arch angels and all the company of heaven. Linda is now part of “all the company of heaven.” She is hidden away in Christ Jesus until The Last Day when she will be revealed with all the Children of God. And where Jesus goes, Linda goes. When Jesus comes to you at the kid’s table of His Supper in Holy Communion she comes with Him, hidden away in Him, as do all the faithful who have crossed the valley of the shadow of death and now sit at the Eternal banquet.
I hope it’s clear why I’m telling you this today, let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Christ Jesus His Son. If you are not baptised, come be baptised; if you have not yet had your baptism confirmed, come and be trained up in the faith; if you have both been baptized and confirmed yet have long been away from The Table, come and receive the foretaste of the feast to come: The meal in which you receive the forgiveness of your sin, Life, and communion with your beautiful Saviour Jesus and all His faithful and all the faithfully departed. For many years Linda was the hostess, she entertained and she and Les had great joy in it, she prepared the food, made sure the drinks were poured (even if they were alcohol free coolers for the grandkids) but there was one place where she was always the guest, and that was at Christ Jesus’ table. His table is your table: Come, taste and see that the Lord is good!
I leave you with these words from another fine Lutheran Hymn, “O living Bread from heaven, how well you feed Your guest! The gifts that You have given have filled my heart with rest. Oh wondrous food of blessing, Oh, cup that heals our woes! My heart, this gift possessing, with praises overflows.” Yes dear ones, the Lord’s Supper is gladness for the heart that grieves, it is a promise of the heavenly Reunion to come and it is participation in the Eternal Feast; In it you share in the mystery of Christ Jesus and in it you grow to know God the Father who is gracious and merciful slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. 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.
 Luke 24:36-43
 Matthew 13:39
 Romans 6:9
 Philippians 3:21
 Colossians 3:2-4, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
 Psalm 34:8
 Lutheran Service Book, Concordia Publishing House 2006, “O Living Bread From Heaven,” # 642 by Johann Rist 1607-67.
 Psalm 86:15