Funeral Sermon, Sheila Lupanko/ Saturday April 14th 2018
Text: John 14.2
Theme: “In my Father’s house are many rooms”
Intr – I heard that Sheila’s house used to have at least 30 rooms, is that information correct?
Well, I know I am exaggerating it here. On one hand, I learned from Shirley and the girls here that, among other features, Sheila’s life was filled with the motivation and goal of loving and serving others. Especially for the fact that she used to be a foster parent. Not only to one or two, but to more than 30 children along her life. On the other hand, she for sure didn’t have a house with 30 rooms. However, I am sure she made room in her heart for many. She shared love and care with all those children. In a way, we might as well say then that she had more than 30 rooms in her heart to fit in all those whom she wanted to help.
In John 14, Jesus tells his disciples that “in the Father’s House are many rooms.” That number is more that 30. It’s more than 30,000. More than 30Mi or whatever number we may come up with. In the Father’s house are many rooms because God loves the whole World. So, each human being who is connected to Him by faith and believes in Jesus Christ for his/her salvation has a room in that House.
We know that Sheila was baptized early on in her life. When she was baptized – as when we were – she was forgiven and she received the place that Jesus prepared for her on His cross. Yes, at that very moment she received by faith forgiveness of sins, life and her room in heaven. We tend to think about our heavenly places only at the end, but at the beginning of our lives, as we are baptized into Christ, we are already asssured that one of those billions of rooms is already ours.
Through Jesus’ cross, God takes us not as foster children but as adopted children. Now we belong to Him. Now we live in the family of faith. Sheila was strongly family oriented as I also learned this week. She cared about the ones close to her. By faith in Christ we live in His family and share all the blessings that come from His love. We are still sinners - Sheila, me, you, all of us. But we have forgiveness of sins. Now, as we live in this family, we also die in it, in Christ, by the Holy Spirit, and then we are heirs of the life everlasting. We are heirs of a room in Heaven.
While we still walk through this valley of tears though, with all the problems and sorrows, and especially mourning the loss of a loved one and learning how to live with their absence, it is also good to hear that the same Father who takes us as his Children is also our Good Shepherd who provides us with still waters and green pastures, as Psalm 23 lets us know. In this Psalm, we learn so many important things for our life in faith under the cross, and I’d like to highlight these ones today: Belonging – We all like to have the sense of belonging to our family history. We may belong to a Church, to a club, to a group of friends that share a common interest. From Psalm 23 we learn that “The Lord is my shepherd.”, which means that by faith we are His sheep. We belong to him. Sheila was baptized, so from that day on she was connected to Christ. By faith, we belong to Christ. Care and Comfort – The Psalm talks about the waters and pastures the Shepherd provides, how He anoints our head with oil, how He prepares a table with an overflowing cup. He cares about us. Who doesn’t like to receive care and comfort from a loving hand? Goodness and mercy – In these rough and complicated times we live, with difficult situations to deal with, it is reassuring to hear Psalm 23 promising us that “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”. We are reminded that in Christ we have God’s promises to our hearts. Life – We still go through death in this life. The wages of sin is death. But the promise of God to all of us today, and always, is LIFE. By faith we believe in the after life. We believe we will see our loved ones. We will see them again. Because,
Cc - “In my Father’s House are many rooms.” This is a promise that comes straight from the mouth of our Good Shepherd Jesus Christ. We can be assured then that we belong to Him. We walk with Him. He fosters our souls in His Word. So that we might live and die in the assuredness of His loving care for us. A loving Father looking after His beloved children. Amen.