Funeral Sermon For Margaret Gottfried / Friday September 1st 2017
Funeral Sermon for Margaret Gottfried at Regina Memorial Cemetery conducted by Rev. Ted A. Giese of Mount Olive Lutheran Church Regina SK Friday September 1st 2017 / John 11:17-27 “Be Prepared”
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.”
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. A couple of minutes ago you heard what Jesus said in the Gospel of John when He said, “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.” After He said this He adds, “Do you believe this?” Jesus asks you this today; in the Gospel of Saint John Jesus had originally asked this of a woman named Martha. Keeping this in minded let me ask you: “Are you prepared for that question? How prepared are you for today? How prepared were you for Margaret’s death?”
The original occasion of Jesus asking the question was His visit to Martha and her sister Mary as they were grieving the death of their brother Lazarus. Mary was not as prepared as her sister Martha. In fact Mary was so distraught that she wouldn't even leave the house. Mary, who on another visit from Jesus had sat at His feet to listen to Him teach, now 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 Margaret's death? We all knew it was coming eventually, everyone eventually dies; even still we were really forced to think about it when she went in for her emergency surgery on Monday July 24th. But thinking about it doesn't really prepare you for it, does it? If I say “Be Prepared,” what runs through your mind? … 'I'm not prepared!' 'I thought I was, but now I don't know,' 'I think I've done everything I needed to do for today to be prepared, 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 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 like learning how to swing a hammer? Is it just applying past experience to future events? Margaret was in fact prepared for her death, even if it didn’t seem like she was, 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 Margaret prepared for eternal life? Margaret was prepared because God prepared her. Margaret 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.
Margaret was being prepared by the Holy Spirit every time she read her Bible; God the Father was preparing her every time she was in one of His houses of worship - in recent years that preparation happened at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and then after that at Mount Olive Lutheran – her preparation in church happened through singing hymns and listening to God’s word in Scripture readings and in Sermons; Jesus was preparing Margaret every time she had Holy Communion. God prepared her for paradise in her baptism back in 1939. With all this in mind I say to you: Be Prepared, be in God's Word, Be in God's House, Be on the receiving end of Holy Communion. Be prepared by God.
When Lazarus’ sister 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, right now, 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 not only to Margaret but to you as well through His Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to Martha, Jesus said to Margaret, 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 all those years ago believed this, Margaret all through her life believed this; this promise is for you. Believe it. When Jesus asked Martha, "Do you believe this?” she replied, “Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” That day Lazarus, Mary and Martha's brother, was raised from the dead, and Lazarus lived out the rest of his days trusting in the resurrection on the Last Day, The Day when he and Mary and Martha, and likewise Margaret and you and I and all people who die with their faith in Christ Jesus will be raised to eternal life forever, body and soul reunited for eternity. Margaret now with all the faithfully departed awaits That Day with Christ Jesus in His promised paradise. In His Life, Death and Resurrection Jesus has prepared all you need, it has all been prepared by the one who is eternally faithful and sure, Jesus Christ: He who is, "the same yesterday and today and forever." He has been with you, His is with you, He will be with you forever. He has prepared Margaret for this day; He is preparing you for your day even now. 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.
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
 Hebrews 13:8