Edward Hoeflicher Funeral Sermon - 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 / February 28th, 2023 / God calls us home
1 Corinthians 1:4–9
"I always give thanks to my God for you because of the grace He has given you through Christ Jesus. For in union with Christ you have become rich in all things, including all speech and all knowledge. The message about Christ has become so firmly established in you that you have not failed to receive a single blessing, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be faultless on the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is to be trusted, the God who called you to have fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord." (Good News Bible)
Dear friends in Christ, especially the family of Ed,
I am Rev. Howard Ulmer, retired pastor and friend of the family. My first contact with the family was in 1974-75 when I served as a Vicar at Nipawin-Choiceland. I also had contact with the family more recently when I served as Chaplain at Regina Lutheran Home. In recent years there were many visits with Ed and Shirley. The family requested that I preach for Ed’s Funeral Service. Thank you for this honour. Sincere thanks to Mt. Olive Lutheran Church for providing this facility and Pastor Ted Giese for leading the Worship Service.
Today we gather to remember a husband, father, grandfather and a friend to many. Above the light of Ed’s bed at Regina Lutheran Home was a plaque “Faith – Family – Friends”. Most important to Ed was his faith in Jesus Christ, his Lord and Saviour. This was important to his family as a child and throughout his life. Ed’s Good News Bible is well used with various torn edges. However, there was only one portion that had a marking with a tissue, namely the words of the text 1 Corinthians 1:4-9.
Ed grew up in a Christian home. He was baptized in the Christian faith on April 1, 1929 at Grace Ev. Lutheran Church, Middle Lake. The Bible verse on his baptism certificate is: “He that believeth and is baptized will be saved.” Mark 16:16. He was also confirmed in that faith on August 16, 1942 at Grace Ev. Lutheran Church, Middle Lake. The Bible verses on his certificate include: “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.” Hebrews 10:23 and “Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Revelation 3:11. On July 9, 1957 Ed was united in marriage to Shirley Long at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Snowden, SK.
Ed shared his Christian faith with his family and friends. He regularly attended worship services, taught Sunday School, counted the offering for many years, and attended other church functions. He also listened to The Lutheran Hour. Since Ed recognized that he was a sinner and in need of God’s forgiveness, he regularly received Holy Communion and was strengthened in his faith. He trusted in God’s grace and mercy throughout his life, including the challenges of farming and caring for the family.
God’s Word provided Ed with strength and courage for each day. During the last week before Ed died we shared many portions of God’s word. The words of our text remind us to “always give thanks to my God”. The words of our text also include, “He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be faultless on the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is to be trusted, the God who called you to have fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Ed was ready and prepared to go home and be with Jesus. The family had an opportunity to say “Goodbye” as we commended Ed to God’s grace, mercy and blessing. On Sunday, February 19 God called him home.
Death comes to us because of our sinful condition. We – all of us – are mortal, meaning that one day we, too, will die. Why? We inherited our sinful, mortal condition from Adam and Eve, the first parents of the human family. Through their rebellion against God, their sin continues through the generations.
In addition to inheriting our original sin, we are also guilty of our own sin. In our sins of commission and omission, we have placed ourselves ahead of God and others. Sin is self-absorption and self-centeredness. Sin is ignoring God and planning our lives as though God doesn’t exist. Sin is loving ourselves and our pleasures, instead of keeping God as the most important.
As Christians we have been redeemed by God in Christ Jesus. Our sins are forgiven. All sins are washed away by our Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered on the cross for the sins of all people. Although He was without sin, Jesus died in our place. From the cross He said, “It is finished!” His resurrection from the grave is our comfort and our hope in all aspects of our Christian faith.
The Holy Spirit fills us with faith and new life. Throughout our journey that new life is nourished in worship by the Word of God and Holy Communion, when we receive Christ’s body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of our sins. We cannot save ourselves. The payment of our sins was the life of Jesus, God’s Son and our Saviour. By Christ’s death and resurrection, we are forgiven people and God declares us righteous.
As a child of God through baptism, Ed knew that he needed God’s grace and mercy. He trusted in Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. God has called him home to a place prepared by Jesus. Family and friends, may our gracious and loving God continue to sustain you in your journey of life. God calls us home.
Photo Credits: Main Photo suplied by family and Mount Olive Lutheran Church; detail of farm field from pexels; detail of baby baptised from pexels; detail of painting of Jesus with His disciples from rawpixel; Painting of Jesus with His disciples at the first Lord's Supper from pixabay.