Funeral Sermon For Carl Luebke / Monday October 2nd 2017
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Monday October 2nd 2017: Season of Pentecost / 1 Peter 1:3-9, Funeral Sermon for Carl Luebke.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
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: Joyce, family, Good Christian Friends. Carl deeply appreciated being together with his fellow Christians in church. In fact in every aspect of his life Carl preferred not being alone. He always wanted someone with him wherever he was going or whatever he was doing. Whether that was milking cows on the farm, or combining in the field, or driving a school bus for the School District. Whatever he was up to, if possible, he’d love to have company.
Many of you will remember the times you spent with Carl throughout your life and his life. Time together well spent and greatly appreciated. The thing to remember about being alone or being together is this: The Christian is never truly alone. They have Christ Jesus, in Baptism you are “united with [Jesus] in a death like His, [The death He died upon the Cross that first Good Friday and as a Christian then] we shall certainly be united with [Jesus] in a resurrection like His.” In fact we hear in our Gospel reading this morning the promise Jesus gives the night before His crucifixion, when Jesus says, “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.” From there you can cap this line of thinking off with the words that the risen Lord Jesus, 40 days after that first Easter, says to His disciples at His ascension to the Right Hand of God the Father when Jesus promises, “behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” In this way the Christian is never truly alone … that doesn’t mean that the Christian can’t feel alone from time to time, but of course feeling alone and truly being alone are two different things, feelings are feelings you can feel alone in a crowd even when you are with a pile of people.
Carl’s time living out at the Care Home in Avonlea was a time when, even though he had other people around, Carl felt alone. Thinking on this while contemplating our Epistle reading from 1 Peter the words of Saint Peter jump off the page when he says, “though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” In the big picture, when you look at the whole of Carl’s life, you could say that “for a little while Carl was grieved by various trials.” His health was failing, his mind was failing and he felt alone at times even though he was never truly alone. Yet when you look at the whole of Carl’s Christian life you see that Peter’s other words in this reading ring even more true, they ring loud and clear, “Though you have not seen [Jesus], you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” In the wee hours of Wednesday morning at the time of Carl’s death Carl moved from the category of one who has not seen Jesus to the category of one who now does see Jesus. Carl has moved from this side of Eternal Life where a person may feel alone to the other side of Eternal Life, Eternal Life with Christ where Carl will be together with all the faithful in Christ forever.
I’m reminded of Saint John in the Revelation of Saint John when John is asked by one of the elder, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
“Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve Him day and night in His temple;
and He who sits on the throne will shelter them
with His presence.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne
will be their Shepherd,
and He will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
When Saint John first sees them coming John describes them like this, “behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”” These are the baptized.
Carl and all Christians are counted in that “great multitude,” and that is a crowd were there is no grief, or sadness, no sin, no hurt, no pain, no sickness and no loneliness. This is the final outcome of being born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This is a picture of the inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, the Eternal Life that is kept in heaven for you. As Christians the power of God guards this in you through faith in Christ Jesus His Son; this is the salvation which is ready to be revealed in The Last Time, on The Last Day, The Day of Christ.
I’ve always known Carl to be a straight forward plain spoken man. With Carl you knew where you stood. The thing that came along with his straightforward nature was his trust. It takes a lot of trust and faith to be a farmer, and Carl trusted that God would provide. Carl trusted that God would provide for the farm but more than that Carl trusted that God would provide for His Church and for His Christians, for all of those washed clean in the Blood of His Son Jesus. He trusted that God’s Word would do as God says it does, that God’s Word would “not return to [Him] empty, [that it would in fact] accomplish that which [He] purposed it to do, that it would] succeed in the thing for which [He] sent it.” God sends His Word to you to give you faith, to guard your faith through the faithful hearing of it, and to bring you safely home to Him in Christ Jesus so that you will never be alone, so that you will be together in the happy reunion in Christ Jesus. Carl trusted this - this promise. Remember this work of God is not only for Carl - it is for you. Trust it, believe it, whatever various trails grieve you in your Christian life today remember that by them your faith is being refined so that you together, along with Carl, can give genuine heartfelt praise and glory and honor to God the Father at the revelation of Jesus Christ on The Last Day.
For this reason you can rejoice, even on a day like today, trusting that your various trials are not meaningless, that they are temporary, and that they like seed on the ground will eventually bear fruit in Christ. As Psalm 126 says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” 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.
 Romans 6:5
 John 14:3
 Matthew 28:20
 Revelation 7:13-17
 Revelation 7:9-10
 Isaiah 55:11
 Psalm 126:5-6