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Funeral Sermon For Edna Peterson / Friday February 26th 2016

Posted in 2016 / Audio Sermons / Funeral Sermons / Lent / Pastor Ted Giese / Sermons / ^Psalms



Funeral Sermon For Edna Peterson / Friday February 26th 2016

Funeral Sermon for Edna Peterson at Mount Olive Lutheran Church February 26th - 2016/ Rev. Ted A. Giese / Psalm 30

I will extol You, O LORD, for You have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried to You for help,
and You have healed me.
O LORD, You have brought up my soul from Sheol;
You restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
and give thanks to His holy Name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
and His favour is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By Your favour, O LORD,
You made my mountain stand strong;
You hid Your face;
I was dismayed.
To You, O LORD, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You?
Will it tell of Your faithfulness?
Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me!
O LORD, be my helper!”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing Your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever!


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. Dance, dance, wherever you may be I am the Lord of the Dance, said He - and I lead you all, wherever you may be and I lead you all in the dance, said He. This is a refrain from the song, aptly titled, Lord of the Dance. Jesus Christ is that Lord of whom the song confesses. He is the Lord of the Dance.

As we who are gathered here today know dancing became increasingly important to Edna in these last years. Especially as Aphasia took its grip on her and communication became more challenging and limited. Before our eyes, Edna became a testament to the fragility and resilience of life. The preciousness of life. Dancing became one of her greatest forms of communication along with the simple yet effective and powerful words, "Thank you, I love you."

Psalm 30 ends with king David praying to The LORD saying,

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing Your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever![1]

King David wrote Psalm 30 near the end of his earthly life, near the time of his physical death, to be used in the Temple at its dedication.[2] So at the time of the dedication of the finished Temple in Jerusalem, the Temple built by David's son King Solomon, these were the words of a physically dead man written for the living children of Israel celebrating at the Temple. These words were set to music and sung and there were people, that day, who would have participated in singing these words together. There may even have been dancing - earlier, in his joy, as the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem, the Ark that would later rest in the Holy of Holies in the Temple built by his son, King David had danced as the Ark–the mercy seat of the Lord–was carried along the road. The Bible tells us how on that day, as the Ark was carried up to Jerusalem that, "David danced before the LORD with all his might."[3]

At her bedside last week Kathy and Colleen and I commented on how, as evidenced by Edna's dancing, the disease of Aphasia had not taken away Edna's joyfulness, or her desire to help others, or her love. Even though there was much that it had taken away the Lord of the Dance had given Edna her dancing and given her love, love to share with family, with me, even with strangers - and especially with the staff of the Sana Maria, the seniors home where Edna stayed this last while. In fact the joy of Christ that that Edna displayed to the staff that worked there in her dancing was so infectious, so efficacious, that it helped them through their tough days and encouraged them in their vocation as care givers both to Edna and to others. What a gift of God given to them through Edna.

Even though, like I'd just said, there was much that Aphasia had taken away from Edna it couldn't take away that fact that Enda was a grandmother and mother, a parent. Her daughter Kathy while reflecting on this wrote a poem, I'd like to share with you now:

Parents are not in this world to be perfect
The longer I am a parent, the truer this becomes,
They are in this world to stand by,
To do the best they can with what they have,
There are in this world to love and be loved,

As I walk with my mom, her disease is slowly taking her away,
But her hand held tightly in mind, Her strength in her hand-hold, her squeeze to let me know she is still there,
is more precious than any activity I have ever done with her!
And the dancing...Ahhh the dancing,
I hope I will always hear the music as she does!

Jesus, the Lord of the Dance, had commented about the generation of people who lived at the time of His life, death and resurrection saying, that they were, "like children sitting in the marketplaces ... calling to their playmates, “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’"[4] Meaning that there are those who are not content with the music of life, they're not content when the Lord of the Dance directs the band to play a sad song or when He directs the band to play a happy song. Inspired by the Holy Spirit David's son King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes that there is, "a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance."[5] Kathy's words, "And the dancing...Ahhh the dancing, I hope I will always hear the music as she does," made me think of Solomon's words and especially the words of Jesus. "He who ears to hear, let him hear." By the grace of God Edna was content, content even in her suffering, content to hear the tune, to trust the Lord of the Dance, to trust Jesus and to dance, to dance with her feet, dance with her hands, with her heart.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews says, "be content with what you have, for [The LORD] has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
The Writer of the Book of Hebrews continues by saying, "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."[6] Remember Edna and consider the outcome of her way of life, and imitate her faith, a faith that danced in the footsteps of the Lord of the Dance, a faith that followed Jesus Christ as The Way, The Truth and The Life.[7] A Faith that went down dancing trusting that in Christ God would indeed raise her up on The Last day and clothed her with gladness, a gladness and joy; An eternal glory that will sing His praise and not be silent. A Faith that says with King David of Psalm 30, "O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever!"

But, you say, my faith isn't like Edna's I have a hard time hearing the music like she did, and I don't always dance with joy, the words "Thank you, I love you," don't always spring from my lips. I don't always "sing praises to the LORD," I don't always "give thanks to His holy Name." In fact at times like these, and at other times, I feel like the God has hidden His face from me; I am left feeling dismayed. My faith isn't like Edna's. Are you so sure? I have good news for you, faith isn't something you do. Saint Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, that is to say, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." This gift of God is Jesus. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."[8] From His cross of Good Friday, from His empty Tomb of Easter morning, it is Jesus' faithfulness that saves us and it is Jesus, in His shed blood, who gives you His faithfulness, His faith, as a gift. The writer of the Book of Hebrews says, "[fix your eyes on] Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."[9] Saint Paul likewise tells us that "God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."[10]

It is this same Jesus who saved Edna, who saves you. When you fail at faithfulness turn to the one who was perfectly faithful and trust in Him, in Him is forgiveness and Eternal Life, for He is The Life, just as He is the Lord of the Dance, the one who leads us home to our happy reunion with all those who have gone on ahead in the faith, even when we stumble, even when we feel as though we have two left feet of faith.

Remember now this day: That Edna, by the grace of God, will now–in Christ Jesus–have met up again with her love Bob, her husband, and she will "dance [with him] the rest of her life" and when you arrive there she will dance with you, and with all the faithful, and in Christ Jesus that life she has is Eternal life free from Aphasia, free from sin, free from all trouble and sorrow. Dance, dance, wherever you may be I am the Lord of the Dance, said He - and I lead you all, wherever you may be and I lead you all in the dance, said He. 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.

Click here to see Edna's obituary and to send your condolences to the family.

____________________________________________________

 

[1] Psalm 30:11-12

[2] A Commentary on Psalms 1-72, Northwestern Publishing House 2004, John F. Burg, pg 334.

[3] 2 Samuel 6:14

[4] Matthew 11:16-17

[5] Ecclesiastes 3:4

[6] Hebrews 13:5-8

[7] John 14:6

[8] John 3:16

[9] Hebrews 12:2

[10] 1 Corinthians 1:9


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