Funeral Sermon, Maureen Greenside / Saturday April 21st 2018
Funeral Sermon for Maureen Greenside / Horizon 2141 McIntyre St, Regina, SK S4P 3T4 / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Saturday April 21st 2018: Season of Easter / Romans 8:18–28, 31–35, 37–39 "Prayers & Promises in Jesus"
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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. Did you know that St. Paul who wrote Romans, the letter which I read for you today from the Bible today, was a tentmaker? He made tents. While Paul wasn’t making quilts or dishcloths or doing cross-stitching he would certainly have to have been good with his hands to be sewing up tents for people. Maureen and St. Paul would certainly have some things in common when it came to the crafty end of things in life. She loved making things with her hands as we heard earlier, as many of you would know, many of you have things that she made for you, and she also enjoyed camping so she likely also enjoyed a good tent.
Her son Jay said that Maureen had read the Bible many times in her life and she would have known this letters written by St. Paul very well. This reading from Romans includes a section that I read to Maureen in the hospital when I saw her. It’s a good part of the Bible to think about when you’re sick, or worried or troubled or grieving.
Let’s look at a couple of the verses: Romans 8:26–27 part way through the reading, verses 26 to 27, you heard what St. Paul wrote when he wrote, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
From this part of Paul’s letter you get the promise that the Holy Spirit is praying for you even when you can’t pray for yourself, and prayer was a very important part of Maureen’s life. This is great news for you today; and it was a great promise for her to hear at the hospital when I saw her there because sometimes depending on the situation or circumstance you might not even know what to pray or sometimes you’re incapacitated in a way in which you can’t pray for yourself and then to know and be reminded that you have the Holy Spirit praying for you is a great comfort and great promise. St. Paul a little further along in this part of his letter also teaches us that Jesus prays for us too, Paul writes, “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God,” who intercedes, “who” St. Paul says, “indeed is interceding for [you, for] us.” So you have the Holy Spirit praying for you - interceding for you - you have Jesus praying for you - interceding for you - to know that God is right there with you in the midst of your grief today, and that God had been right there with Maureen in her time of trouble saying prayer for her, prayers for you, in the time of great need. To know this is a great and abiding blessing.
Maybe the toughest one on a day like today is this verse Romans 8:28 where Paul writes, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
That might be the toughest one to hear today because there is nothing good about death, there’s really is no way of sugar coating that hides what death really is some people might try and tell you that death is natural or that it’s a friend or something like that but it’s not death is a miserable, terrible thing, we in fact would rather that Maureen would be with us here the way we are with each other now so that we could just have a nice big party with her yet even so God is at work, God doesn’t abandon us in death. God who is Holy a perfectly good didn’t shrink from death Himself, didn’t keep Himself separate from the experience of it – Jesus the Christ His one and only Son, who is the second person of the Holy Trinity, went to His Good Friday Cross, that we hear about around Easter, and He died. Jesus who is God and Man knows what it is to die and we then are not alone in our death.
As Christians we talk about being brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus which makes Jesus our older brother. As our older brother He went on ahead of us going through the valley of the shadow of death ahead of us. If you are an older brother or sister or if you have an older sibling you know how this works how the older one often makes a path ahead for the younger one. At the cross in His crucifixion Jesus went on ahead to prepare a place for you, as we heard in our Gospel reading from John’s Gospel where in Chapter 14 Jesus says, “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.” So there is a promise in there for you, and for Maureen.
When Maureen died she wasn’t alone in her death, she was with her family, she had her family with her, and she also had Jesus with her fulfilling His promise to her taking her to Himself at her death as He promises in Scripture for her, for you, for all of us that believe in Christ Jesus. So even in the midst of a bad thing like death God is working together all things for a good end. He doesn’t do it from far away but instead He does it right there with you in the hardest parts. This is why I can say with St. Paul that God is not against you: He’s for you, even in the hard times like today.
At the Cross Jesus has fulfilled His promises to you, at the empty tomb of that first Easter Sunday Jesus has fulfilled His promises to you, today He is fulfilling His promise to you in His Word with the telling of His victory over death preached to you, and on your last day - on The Last Day - for those who believe in Him Jesus will fulfill His promises; the promise made to you, the ultimate promises made to you, His giving to you new life in Him, eternal life in Him forever when He will on That Final Day raise you and all people from the dead.
Lastly from St. Paul in Romans 8:38–39 Paul says, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This was a part that I really focused on with Maureen while she was in hospital. That the illness she was suffering at that moment wasn’t separating her from Christ Jesus, that even if she should die, that death would not separate her from the love of God in Christ Jesus and neither does it separate us. Right now you feel that deep separation but that is only a feeling in Christ you are not separated, and there is something good coming to you: to you who believe in Jesus the great and wonderful happy reunion when all those with faith in Christ Jesus are back together again in Him. And the really great thing to remember is that the promise of the resurrection means that it’s not just some kind of floaty spiritual thing to be with Jesus after your death, the promise of the resurrection means that it will be a bodily resurrection a resurrection of the body. On The Last Day you get your body back only it will be made perfect: People who have experienced strokes or have lost limbs or suffered any kind of physical trauma in this life they will get their body back on That Day and their body will be perfect as Christ Jesus’ body is and with that body you’ll be able to give Maureen a big hug, you’re going to see her again with your own eyes and she’s going to be able to see you; just as you will be able to see Jesus with your own eyes and He will be able to see you and you’ll be able to give Him a big hug too. This is the most wonderful promise that’s wrapped up in the promise of the resurrection of the dead.
Jay told me that his mom would end her phone calls with him and her kids by often saying, “I love you … and remember to say your prayers.” Remember today that Jesus loves Maureen and just as Jesus loves Maureen, He also loves you. He gave up everything at the cross so He would be able to give her and you and me every good thing today, tomorrow and forever in eternity. So let’s say our prayers today … Maureen would like that. 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.
 Acts 18:1–3, “After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.”
 John 14:2–3
 Job 19:23–27, “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!”