Funeral Sermon For Matilda Hubick / Monday November 2nd 2015
Funeral Sermon for Matilda Hubick, November 2nd 2015 - Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese / (Hebrews 11 - 12:2 ESV)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to 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.
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. In the reading from the book of Hebrews this morning we heard how "all these (Abel, Enoch, Noah Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses' parents, Moses, ... King David, Samuel and the prophets - all these and more) though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect," that apart from us they should not be made perfect. You see on The Last Day the faithful will all receive the gift of perfection at the same time in the resurrection of the dead. Everyone will be raised up and the Christian with faith in Christ Jesus will "be will transform," Jesus will on that day transform, "our lowly body to be like His glorious body, (and He will do this) by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself."
Today we lay Matilda to rest, we lay her earthly remains to rest. On The Last Day she will receive this gift of perfection at the same time as King David and Saint Paul, and Moses and Saint Peter and all the rest - this is what the writer to the Hebrews says. He is saying that this gift happens by faith, that all of these including Matilda, including you, have this gift from God by faith not by personal hard work. The writer to the Hebrews says that God mercifully held off on giving out the gift of perfection to all these people because, "God had provided something better for us," that something better is your baptism into Jesus, ... that something better is the fulfilment of God's promise of salvation ... that something better is Jesus.
By faith the Old Testament believers trusted that God was fulfilling His promise of salvation: We now are called to trust that God has fulfilled His promise and trusting this is done by faith, in this way Matilda, me, you, and all these people listed in the Book of Hebrews along with countless others all equally share in this gift. Therefore, as Christians, we with Saint Paul can confess that we, "have been baptized into Christ Jesus," and in this baptism we, "were baptized into [Jesus'] death? We were buried therefore with [Jesus] by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ [Jesus] 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." Matilda knew this well, she trusted it, she reflected on it, she had faith in Jesus who as Hebrews says is, "the founder and perfecter of our faith," the founder and perfecter of Matilda's faith, the founder and perfecter of your faith.
In the front of Matilda's Bible she had a pile of Scripture passages marked. Things she thought very highly of, like chapter 11 of the Book of Hebrews. She had a whole list of things that happened on mountain tops long ago, she took note of how Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana and having grown up farming here in Saskatchewan there was one passage about the resurrection of the dead that she marked in her Bible from 1 Corinthians 15 that had an impact on her, and it is very appropriate for a day like this - in fact while I'm speaking it to you there will be a spot where you'll almost be able to see Matilda do this with her finger. Saint Paul writes, "But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as He has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body." Saint Paul continues, "So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power."
When asked which commandment of God was the greatest Jesus answered, "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’" In the last little while Matilda had been saying that she was tired, her strength was leaving her. Sometimes people thought she would live forever, at 95 she'd out lived many people. When Jesus says, "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength," it's a hard thing to do. We fail at it and Matilda knew that she did too. She also knew that the one who never failed at it was Jesus, Jesus who perfectly loved His heavenly Father with all His heart and with all His soul and with all His mind and with all His strength, gave this righteousness of His own to Matilda as a gift. She would come to Jesus asking forgiveness and Jesus would give Himself to her, give to her this gift of righteousness. A blanket of grace and love that covered over her. She knew Jesus' words, when He said, "Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," and now her body rests, rests in Christ until The Last Day and while today we sow Matilda body in weakness because her physical strength has left her and she is, as saint Paul says "asleep in Christ," on The Last Day Matilda will be raised in power.
But what about now. What happens now between this day and The Last Day? What about Matilda right now? In John 14 we heard Jesus say to His disciples on the night in which He was being betrayed unto His death, that He was going to His Father's House to prepare a place for them, for us? And if Jesus went to prepare a place for us, for you, for them, then He would come again and would take us to Himself so that where He is they may be also. So while her strength, the strength of her body is sown into the grown this day, Jesus has taken Matilda's heart, her soul, her mind unto Himself and where Jesus is Matilda is there also along with all the faithful who have gone on ahead - she is now part of that great cloud of witnesses which surround us each and every day. Her joy is in Christ Jesus, "therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus (as Matilda did, Jesus who is) 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." By grace Matilda has been saved through faith. And this is not her own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one, including her may boast, except in Christ Jesus. Be of good courage - be of good courage this day, hold to Jesus and let everything else go, in the end the things of this would will profit you nothing only Christ will remain and in Him all things will be made new. Matilda died in the faith - not an abstract faith - faith in Jesus; And by faith she met each day, each challenge, each joy, each sorrow with Him, for Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. Know Him and you know His Father, the heavenly Father.
My faith is poor, my faith is weak you say ... remember your catechism, "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true." Matilda's forgiveness was from Jesus, her strength was from Jesus, it came from the cross, from Easter's empty tomb, from His nail pierced hands and feet, from His Body and Blood in Holy communion, from His word preached, read and taught, from her baptism into Him. All of this is yours too - therefore lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, run with endurance the race that is set before you in Christ Jesus as she did and think on what the Book of Hebrews says, when the writer writes these words, "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith," their faith in Jesus.
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.
 1 Corinthians 15:35-38
1 Corinthians 15:42-43
 Matthew 11:28
 John 14:2-4
 Luther's Small Catechism, Concordia Publishing House 2005, pg 17.
 Hebrews 13:7