Harold Huber Funeral Sermon - John 14:1-7 June 19th 2021 / At Home in Christ
Funeral Sermon for Harold Huber - Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Saturday June 19th 2021: Season of Pentecost / John 14:1-7 "At Home in Christ"
“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. With confidence and faith in Christ Jesus you look forward to when you will be together as a family again. It was in February of 2010 that we had the funeral for Harold’s wife Etholeen here at Mount Olive, and before that the first one from your family that I was able to be a part of, when I was still a vicar, was Harold’s brother Erwin in June of 2007, then there was his sister-in-law Myrtle in March of 2009 and her husband Harold’s brother Johnny in August of 2010, and Harold’s sister Hilda again in August but in 2013, and then there was Harold’s niece Ruth and her husband Frank and son-in-law Dennis. And these are just the ones that first come to mind when I think of your family, ones I was able to be a part of. There have been many more funerals, and weddings and baptisms and confirmations of baptism all happening in, or revolving around, the LORD’ House. When family gathers together a house becomes a home, and your desire to be together again as a family is a God pleasing one. And because God the Father is gracious, and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love He sent His son Jesus to prepare a place for you in His Father’s House: a House that will truly and completely be a home when the whole family of faith is safely gathered there on the Last Day, the Day of Resurrection. Yet I have good news for you for today.
First let’s go back again to what Jesus said to His disciples, “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.” He said this to them the Thursday night before Good Friday. Have you thought of “where” or “how” Jesus was preparing your room in His Father’s House? Jesus’ guardian in His early years was Joseph the Virgin Mary’s husband and Joseph was a carpenter, a wood worker, a contractor, you could say a builder … so here is Jesus raised by a carpenter and the only begotten Son of God the Father the maker of all things who promises to prepare a room for you in His Heavenly Father’s House. The disciples had been told that Jesus would suffer many things, and be killed by the leaders of their day, and that this must happen. They didn’t know that it was going to happen the next day after He said these things to them. The “where” and the “how” of Jesus’ preparing a place for you, for Harold, for me, for all the faithful was at the cross of His crucifixion on Good Friday. It was by His blood, sweat and tears, by His innocent death there at the cross on our behalf and for our forgiveness that prepared your place, your room, in the Father’s House. The first wooden beams of your heavenly home were assembled there on Mount Golgotha on Good Friday and the first nails driven into them went through the hands and feet of the Carpenter who prepares your room in the House of the LORD. You place in the LORD’s House was complete when Jesus breathed His last and said, “It is finished.”
There at the foot of the cross one of the Roman soldiers took a spear and pierced Jesus’ side to see if He was alive or if He was dead. And from the beaten, bruised, and bloodied side of Jesus’ body gushed forth blood and water. At that moment we see the Church spring forth: The Body and Blood of Christ Jesus in Holy Communion and the Waters of Baptism all there. You see because your heavenly Father is gracious, and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love He, in Jesus His Son, doesn’t only give you a promise of a future home in which to be together, He gives you a present Home in which to be together, He gives you the Church, the House of the LORD, in which there are many rooms, a place for you, prepared by Jesus.
Shirley, Wanda, Terry, Garth, Glenda you recall that your Dad encouraged you to attend worship services regularly as he did. I want you to hear this today and take note, take it to heart. We Christians are tucked away in Christ Jesus, we are baptised into His death and into His resurrection, and as we heard in the Gospel Jesus promises to come to us and to take us to Himself. So when our last hour comes and we die Jesus does just as He promises and we are with Him, tucked away until the day we are raised to eternal life. This means when we die in the faith we are at home in Christ our brother, and wherever Jesus goes we go with Him. So wherever Jesus may be found there you will find you dad and your mom and your family. Do you see where this is leading?
To the disciples, forty days after His resurrection on that first Easter Sunday, Jesus said at His ascension His Father’s right hand, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” To the dying Jesus says I “will take you to Myself,” and to the living He says, “behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” At the cross Jesus prepared a place for you in heaven and a place for you here and now, in the here and now in His Church, in His Father’s House, in the House of the LORD Jesus has prepared a place for you, a place that revolves around His Word and the promise of His presence in Holy Communion. Remember the Hosts of Heaven, all those who have gone on ahead of us in the faith, all those Jesus has already taken to Himself, who are at Home in Him now go where He goes. The Church gathers in Christ at the Lord’s Supper and the faithfully departed are also there with Christ. This is why we say that we sing, “with angels and arch angels and all the company of heaven,” the song of the angels adding our voices to the “Holy, Holy, Holy.” (And even the architecture of our church tells the story because here we see half of the circle that the altar sits upon, that part we can see, and then there is the other half we don’t see the part that is in Christ hidden away, the Heavenly Hosts, those who have been gathered to the Father who are present wherever Christ goes.)
Therefore while it is true that today we walk by faith and not by sight we can at the same time trust that in Christ God the Father has given us a home not just in some far off future but in the here and the now, a place where your family of faith reunites together in Christ week in and week out, a foretaste of the feast to come, when in our risen bodies we will see each other face to face just as we will by the grace of God see Jesus face to face. Every day every hour the Father is gathering His family together in His Son Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. (And a note about the resurrection on the Last Day: we often think of it just in terms of our bodies, and that is going to be a glorious thing, but it also our soul, our mind, every part of us is made new. Made the way it was intended to be made new completely perfect in Christ. But for you, I know for your family: on that day Etholeen will be there on her two feet her arms waiting to hug you, on that day Myrtle will be as sharp as a tack her mind made perfect. Every one of us exactly as God intended us to be with all of the troubles that we have had in our life, any sickness illness of any kind washed away, those are the things that pass away we remain but made new and perfect in Christ Jesus.)
While grief makes us feel apart, pressing us to desire to be together again as we once were, in Truth, in Christ we are not apart; in Him we are at home. Jesus in our Gospel reading says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” He also says in the Gospel of John “I am the Door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” This is why Saint Paul in our Epistle reading can say with such confidence “that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The room is prepared, the room – that blessed place – is open and the Holy Spirit leads you into it by baptism, by God’s Word, and promises to keep you there, Harold knew this and believed it, this is why he encouraged you to be at Home in the LORD’s house. So remember in Jesus even death cannot separate us; for Jesus has made a place for you in His Father’s House, a Home in the Church for today and our Heavenly Home for Eternity, a place to be together as family joined together in Christ Jesus. 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.
 John 19:30
 John 19:34
 Matthew 28:18–20
 2 Corinthians 5:7
 Job 19:25–27, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!”
 John 10:9
 Romans 8:38–39
Photo Credits: Last Supper from pexels; Crusifixion of Jesus from pexels; Holy Communion from schultzphotographic; Holy Baptism from schultzphotographic; Jesus and Holy Communion from pxhere; Harold Huber Urn with Pall by Pr. Ted Giese.