John Hamann Funeral Sermon - Titus 3:4–8 May 12th 2020 / Mercifully Washed in Baptism
Funeral Sermon for John Hamann – Graveside Service at the Regina Cemetery St. Anthony Mausoleum / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Tuesday May 12th 2020: Season of Easter / Titus 3:4–8 "Mercifully Washed in Baptism"
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.
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. There was a time in his life that John was very involved in the life of the Church. Back at Grace Lutheran Church he served in number of capacities and was extraordinarily helpful around the Church but why? There was also a time when John’s wife Frieda, your mom, or grandma, or great grandma, was also hard at work at home taking in babies from the Hospital and caring for them until they could be adopted into a family that could take care of them permanently, but again why? Some more cynical people might think it was to earn brownie points with God, to do enough good works to get into heaven. But that’s not it at all. There really aren’t enough babies you could help along their way, and there really isn’t enough a person could do around a Church to gain enough good favour to get into heaven on your own by your own works of righteousness no matter how wonderful and appreciated they may be. This is why St. Paul, while acknowledging the goodness of righteous works, points out how it was that “when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
That washing of regeneration came to John on October 10th 1926 as a baby in his baptism and he was able to stand up on his own and confess the truth of it for himself June 13th 1943. 1926, 1943 seem like a world away in time but they were important dates for John because in them his identity as a Christian, a Child of God, a Lutheran, were being forged in a bond stronger than steel. He was washed by the Holy Spirit who enlightened him with the gifts of Christ Jesus, sanctified, that is made John Holy, and kept John in the true faith right to the end when even in his last hours John was able to pray the Lord’s Prayer with me and his family: Me with him in my personal protective equipment and his family just outside the window their voices carrying in to meet ours.
So the reason John worked around the Church was not for him it was for you so that there would be a Church for you to hear God’s Word read and preached in, as there had been for him, so that in such a place the Holy Spirit could work on your hearts as He had worked on John’s heart. And this is the reason John’s wife Frieda cared for all those babies, not for her enjoyment and benefit only but ultimately for them that they would have a chance at life as you had. You see St. Paul compels me to insist on these sorts of things when he says that, “those who have believed in God [are to] be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people,” for people … not primarily for the one who does them but for others, for people. Yes John enjoyed his work around Grace Lutheran Church and he was a diligent meat cutter at the General Hospital for 30 years too, and he cared about you all as Father, grandfather and great grandfather, he had great joy when at the celebration of his 80th Birthday Avery, Caleb, and Brady were baptised together. Doing good for others and seeing the fruit of it is wonderful, it is however not how we find our way into heaven, you find your way into Heaven the way John did as one whom God has had mercy on, as one who has been baptized, who has received the gift of faith, who by the grace of God has cherished that gift. All the good and righteous things that a Christian then does is not for their own good but for the good of others because of the great need of others. So it was for John and Frieda and so it is with you. We like they sin and fall short of the glory of God but the Christian turns again and again to Jesus for the forgiveness that He won for us all at the Cross on that first Good Friday, that He delivered to us out of the Tomb that first Easter Sunday Morning that the Holy Spirit pours lovingly into our ears and hearts through our whole life. And in that way we who believe are then “justified by [God’s] grace [so that] we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
The Eternal Life to which Jesus Has come to take John away too is not some ephemeral, puff of smoke existence that is all spirit and no body. There will be concrete things there as we experience them here but there they will not be marred or spoiled by the fall into sin. In heaven everything is fine, and wonderful and perfect. If there is whisky it truly will be better than mother’s milk because all things will be without a blemish, better than the best. Nothing will be out of sorts, it is beyond our comprehension. Our hearts, our minds, our bodies, our feelings and emotions, our memoirs, every last bit of us will be regenerated and renewed one last eternal time and all those in Christ will have their happy reunion together there in that place. So in our life we want to share that joy in advance with as many as will gladly hear and learn it. John understood this and he would love for you to embrace it as he did trusting the giver of the gift The Holy Spirit, Christ Jesus, and The Heavenly Father. The gift of God flowing from the cross to your baptism to your daily life where the Holy Spirit promises to richly forgive all our sins and the sins of all believers, giving us all the freedom to serve others in love and peace. 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.
 Romans 3:23–24, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
 Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
 Revelation 21:5, “And He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’”
 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.”