Blog / Book of the Month / Funeral Sermon For Walter Huber / Thursday November 13th 2014

Funeral Sermon For Walter Huber / Thursday November 13th 2014

Posted in 2014 / Audio Sermons / Funeral Sermons / Pastor Ted Giese / Sermons / ^John

Funeral Sermon For Walter Huber / Thursday November 13th 2014

Walter Oscar Huber Funeral Sermon / Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese / John 14:1-7 / November 13th 2014

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 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. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”

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. After that first Holy Communion, on the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus spoke with His disciples. As His own death upon the cross was about to come Jesus didn't want them to have troubled hearts. Jesus trusted that His heavenly Father would raise Him from the dead and that Jesus would have more to do after His resurrection,[1] more to do for these men He spoke to that night, more to do for all those who'd lived with their faith in the promises of the Lord, more to do for Walter, more to do for you. This is what we hear in the Gospel reading today from the Gospel of St. John Chapter 14.

In 1 Thessalonians St. Paul says, "we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep."[2] Therefore: Hope in Christ Jesus, Don't lose heart, let not your hearts be troubled. The temptation in times of grief is to lose heart, to despair without hope. Yet the Bible, Holy Scripture, transmits the promises of God to you through time, bringing Jesus' words to you and to your heart this day in the midst of your grief over Walters death.  

In Christ Jesus, you and I, we, have words of promise when Jesus says, "In My Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 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." As Walter went to his rest he did so with this promise as his own. A cherished promise that all those who are asleep in Jesus, all those who have their rest in Jesus abide in Him and that Jesus has collected them up unto Himself. 

As Christians get on in years many times they'll talk about going to heaven by saying that their bags are packed and they're ready to go. They are like a man on a railway platform with his luggage next to him and his ticket in his hand, or like a woman with her carry-on and boarding pass at the air-port waiting for the call to begin boarding. In Daily life such people are ready to go, and there really doesn't seem like there's much to do but wait. Walter was ready to go. He said so himself. Did he have his bags packed, did he have his ticket in hand, his boarding pass printed? The ticket, the boarding pass was and is Jesus' promise: Walter had been given this promise in his baptism[3] and he kept the paper receipt and the confirmation of that receipt folded up and with him all his life, his baptismal certificate; Walter had been given this promise in God's Word which he studied and read; the promise was his in the Absolution he'd received for the forgiveness of his sins and the preached Word of God he heard regularly here at Mount Olive; and He'd received Holy Communion which, like Baptism and Absolution, is both the promise and the thing that it promises - Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of your sin (I was privileged to bring Walter Holy Communion at his home on the 30th of October). When you add all of this up along the way, all these gifts of God which Walter regularly remembered and availed himself of, the sum of that addition is that Walter was at peace with what was coming next. Content, prepared, at peace, trusting the promises of Jesus.

Walter really was prepared to go to Jesus, prepared to have Jesus take him to be with Him. Now when you pack your bags it's generally for work, or for a vacation, or to see family. When you fall asleep in Christ, although you are going to paradise as Jesus promises, "today you will be with me in Paradise,”[4] you are not going on a vacation, because a vacation is temporary, people eventually return from their vacation; and when you fall asleep in Christ you're not going to work, Jesus says, "Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,"[5] He promises that, "you will find rest for your souls,"[6] in heaven the toil of life is complete and nothing will have the drudgery of 'work' attached to it any more. Everything and anything a person does there will be done in joy.[7]

What then will it be like? It will be like the last of the three - it will be like when you pack your bags to see family. The family you go to see will be all those who had their faith in Christ Jesus - for example in the happy reunion - which awaits all of us who die with our hope in Christ Jesus - Walter will be reunited with his mother; his mother who gave him the gift of a Bible back in 1953, a Bible he kept the rest of his earthly life. Walter's trip to be with Christ will not be temporary, as Walter get's there he won't be pressed into work like some employee who'd rather be off somewhere else, no, it will be as a son returning home to family. Jesus says, "[an employee] does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."[8] And in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, Walter is free; Walter is a son returned home, a child of God,[9] an heir of the kingdom of heaven[10] receiving his promised inheritance.       

Jesus says, "I go to prepare a place for you?" Jesus says, "In My Father's house are many rooms," This made me think of the work Walter and Loretta did together in the hotel business. Hotels and motels have many rooms but the Father's House in heaven is much, much bigger. In the Revelation of St. John, St. John writes, "I looked, and 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,"[11] dear ones they all need a room. On the Last Day when the rooms are all filled the eternal no-vacancy light will be switched on and all those who abide in Christ will have eternal everlasting rest.

Walter knew a thing or two about hotels and he had opportunity to meet many a guest along the way and had ample opportunity to prepare rooms for the arrival of guests. In heaven the guests need never check out, the bill for lodging is paid for in the Blood of Jesus, and Jesus Himself has unlocked the door to Walter's room and brought him safely there. Trust that Jesus has turned down your bed too, He has prepared a place for you, a room to dwell in forever: This promise is for Walter and this promise is for you. 

'Pastor, I struggle with this promise' you say, 'unlike Walter I have not been consistent in my worship life, in my devotional life, in my reception of Holy Communion or in the daily remembrance of my baptism, is their hope for me? Add to that that I'm unsure of how I should live out my faith in my daily life with others, what am I to do?" Let not your hearts be troubled, "The law says "Do this", and it is never done. Grace says, "believe in this" and everything is already done."[12] Jesus prepares a place for you: you need not prepare it for yourself. Jesus saves you: you need not save yourself. Jesus paid for your sins with His blood, sweat and tears, with His very life: you need not pay for your sins, they are paid for already.

How then do I live my life? To answer that, I leave you with this today: Tucked into his current Portal's of Prayer devotional book Walter had a little book mark and on it this prayer,

          "Empower me, O God, I pray to love the way You do,

          With gentleness and mercy, goodwill and kindness too.

          Giving of myself to others, as Your Scriptures teach,

          Offering a helping hand, to all within my reach.

          Please grant me motivation to serve you selflessly,

          Loving You with all my heart, because You first loved me. Amen.

As you do this remember what St. Paul also says in 1 Thessalonians, he says that we should lead a quiet life, mind our own business and work with our hands so that our daily life may win the respect of outsiders.[13] Walter's faithfulness and hard work, his reliance on Jesus for forgiveness all point to Jesus and to all that Jesus has accomplished, if anyone is to give Walter respect and honour for his life let them all the more respect and give honour to Jesus who is Walter's hope, who is your hope in the face of death. Trust the promises of Jesus - they are for you just as they are for Walter. Jesus said, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me," Walter believed this, place your faith, hope and trust in these words, believe in Jesus as Walter did. 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.


[1] Psalm 22

[2] 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

[3] May 24th 1929.

[4] Luke 23:43

[5] Matthew 11:28

[6] Matthew 11:29

[7] Revelation 21:4, "[The LORD] 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.”

[8] John 8:35-36

[9] 1 John 3:1

[10] Romans 8:17

[11] Revelation 7:9  

[12] Heidelberg Disputation, Theses 26, Martin Luther, 1518.

[13] 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12