Erna Manz Graveside Service Sermon - John 11:25 / June 12th, 2021 / “Though you have losses, yet you shall still receive”
Text: John 11:25
Theme: “Though you have losses, yet you shall still receive”
Intr – A funeral makes us think about loss. We lose someone we love, and grief and sadness might be our partners for the next so many days, months, or even years. And when we think about loss, we are thinking of Erna’s life too. She experienced losses along her life that makes one wonder where the strength she had came from to deal with all of them.
She lost her thumbs at the age of 5. She lost siblings. Then she lost her son and, more recently, her husband. I’m pretty sure there are more losses in between, but those illustrate well some of the ordeals she underwent during over 9 decades of life.
Again, where did the strength to face all these challenging losses came from?
It came from the most important thing she had which she gained, or better, she received early on in her life: Christ. Faith in Christ.
She received her faith in her Baptism 7 days after she was born; a gift that keeps giving, for God strengthens us daily in his word through our Faith.
She received from the Lord her life and her family. Beautiful gifts to be cultivated as long and as much as possible;
She received from the Lord many gifts, especially her spiritual gifts, to share at Church, with family, with her friends, at the Lutheran Home.
In the Gospel today we heard Jesus saying: “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet he shall live”. We could read it this way as well: “Though you have losses, yet you shall still receive.” Death is the biggest loss we have to endure on this side of heaven. But death is not a period, it is a comma. There is more after it. There’s life, and a life that never ends. All of that because of Christ’s work of love on His Cross, and His resurrection, defeating death and allowing us access to life. Though we shall lose many things in life, we shall never lose this precious gift He has gained in our place and extended to us: forgiveness and life forever.
This is the one thing Erna never lost: Faith. God promised to her, God promises to us today that He gives and maintains faith is us. Through faith He is by our side, with His Love, His Grace, and His strengthening for every season in life. When we are in Him, this is the one thing that we can carry in our chest as well, as long as life endures, without being afraid to lose it.
Cc - This is the hope by which we live. Death is not the end. There’s more after it. On the last day, we will be very happy with some losses that will take place: we will lose all sorrow, pain and imperfection of this world. We will enter Life, where we will only not receive back people we lost in life who went ahead of us in Christ. We will also receive eternal wonders that we can’t even begin to imagine.
A beautiful place to which Erna and all Christians, with our perfect and glorious bodies, will give a big, eternal thumbs up.