Funeral Sermon for Edna Woolhether / Wednesday September 25th 2013
The audio starts out a little quiet but by about 2 minutes in it's back up to full sound.
Funeral Sermon for Edna Woolhether / Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese / September 25th 2013
Now when Jesus came, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met Him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to [Jesus], “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I Am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” (John 11:17-27 ESV)
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. Be Prepared, Edna was ready to help out wherever she was needed. Edna was ready to lend a hand to serve family, friends and others. Yet willingness to serve was not enough; she knew how to do the job well, even in an emergency. Be Prepared.
Alongside the familiar 23rd Psalm, the Epistle and Gospel readings today were ones that meant a great deal to Edna, she underlined them in her brother Harold's book about how to get to heaven. Let's consider the Gospel reading from the Gospel of Saint John: The Gospel reading has Martha in it, Martha was someone who liked to be prepared. Mary and Martha were grieving the death of their brother Lazarus. Mary was not as prepared as Martha, Mary was so distraught that she wouldn't even leave the house. Mary had sat at Jesus' feet and now she couldn't even come to see Him when He arrived. It was Martha that got up and came to Jesus and greeted Him. Martha was the one who was prepared to say something to Jesus; she said to Him “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.” Martha was prepared.
Were you prepared for Edna's death? We all knew it was coming eventually, we thought about it more after Ralph passed. But thinking about it doesn't really prepare you for it, does it? Be Prepared. 'I'm not prepared!' 'I thought I was, but now I don't know' 'I've done everything I needed to do for today, I've lent a hand and chipped in, but what about tomorrow? I don't know if I'm prepared for tomorrow, for next week for, ... for the future?' Be Prepared. Be prepared for death, be prepared for eternal life, Be Prepared.
When you hear the words 'Be Prepared,' what do you think of, is being prepared something you do, is it like learning to tie a knot, or how to start a camp fire? Is it like learning a recipe without the cookbook right there beside you? is it just applying past experience to future events? Edna was prepared for her death, but Edna would be the first to tell you that she did nothing really to prepare for her departure, because going to heaven isn't about the work you do, it isn't about preparations you've made by the work of your hands. How was Edna prepared for eternal life? Edna was prepared because God prepared her. Edna is prepared because God prepared her. 'Be Prepared' isn't a command, go prepare yourself! 'Be Prepared' is a gift. Be the one prepared by God. Be the one prepared by Jesus. Be the one forgiven by Jesus, for everyone needs forgiveness; be the one loved by God the Father, because everyone needs to be loved; be the one comforted by the Holy Spirit because everyone needs to be comforted.
Edna was being prepared by the Holy Spirit every time she read her Bible, God the Father was preparing her every time she was in His house here singing and listening to His word, Jesus was preparing Edna every time she had holy communion. God prepared her for paradise in her baptism and He prepared her with every word she prayed to Him in heaven. Be Prepared, be in God's Word, Be in God's House, Be on the receiving end of Holy Communion. Be prepared.
When Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.” Martha was prepared for Jesus' answer, she really was. Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” And Martha, who was prepared to hear it, said to Jesus, “I know that [my brother Lazarus] will rise again in the resurrection on the Last Day.” You too may feel prepared to hear the words I say to you today, you think 'I've been to funerals I've heard these words before.' Stop and consider that the words I say to you today are in fact preparing you; that the Holy Spirit uses God's Word to prepare you. You are being prepared even now for your own future. For the Eternal Life that God has promised you through Jesus His Son.
Jesus said to Martha, Jesus said to Edna, Jesus says to you, “I Am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Martha believed this, Edna believed this; this promise is for you. Believe it. When Jesus asked Martha "Do you believe this?” Do you believe that I Am the Resurrection and the Life? She said to Jesus, “Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Jesus was more than just willing to lend a hand, He was more than just willing to help you in your need, to help you in your emergency. Jesus was more than willing, He acted. He moved from willingness to action. Born into our world He lived the life you couldn't live, the perfect life; Surrounded by trouble on every side Jesus was merciful and kind where we fail to be; Faced with suffering and death Jesus "humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." And on that cross, in the midst of death, your help arrived: From the blood stained wood burst forth the promise of you eternal life, and on the third day it became known to all the faithful as Jesus walked out of the grave alive and showed Himself to His disciples. His Eternal life is now your eternal life. and just as surely as He walked out of His grave, you will, on the Last Day, walk out of your grave too.
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.
 Christianity Your Free Passport to Heaven, Harold W. Decksheimer; Schiel & Denver Publishing Limited, 2011.
 Luke 10:38-42 "Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to [Jesus] and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”"
 Romans 3:20-24
 Philippians 2:8
 Romans 6:3-11 "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with [Jesus] in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with [Jesus] in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death [Jesus] died He died to sin, once for all, but the life [Jesus] lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus."
 John 11:5
 John 11:35
 Psalm 116:15
 Revelation 21:4 "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
 John 14:26
 Romans 8:26
 John 10:27-28
 Hebrews 13:8