Kim Kreis Funeral Sermon - John 10:25, 27-30 December 16th 2020 / The Father's Love
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Wednesday December 16th 2020: Season of Advent / John 10:25, 27–30 "Love of the Father"
Jesus said, “The works that I do in My Father’s name bear witness about Me, … My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (ESV)
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 are men who father children and then there are Fathers. Men who embrace and take to heart the vocation of fatherhood in all that they do. Kim is such a man: One who loved everything about being a Father. And this love spilled over onto all of you: A cup that ran over with love like we heard from Heidi and Drew and Erik. This love comes from somewhere; it is poured in before it can overflow.
There is a privilege in knowing four generations of a family. Most recently it was my joy to baptize little Logan and on that day Logan’s Father Drew beamed with joy, but there was another beaming light that day and that was Kim. The joy he had in being a grandfather to Luke and Ben and Logan could not be missed. The shock of Kim’s sudden departure from us is made all them more challenging because there will be more grandchildren who in time will come, who will be added to the family, but for them meeting their proud Grandfather Kim will be put off until later.
Not everyone knows when they are going to go. St. Paul did. But that’s because he was ordered to his death by the Roman government who didn’t like what he taught people about God and living life as a Christian. From a prison cell, knowing the time was near, he wrote, “The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” This came to mind in the last week and a half because of Kim’s Father. Ed Kreis knew his time of departure was coming. I remember many visits with him and Gert, and Ed like Kim was a proud grandpa. He fought hard through illness to see the day that Erik (his youngest grandchild) graduated high School, as a teacher Ed wanted to see that. And after that when he had long fought the good fight Ed was ready to depart. Every now and then it's gotta rain. I remember being in the hospital with the family when the end was coming for Ed, when the time came to say no to more dialysis and to amputations had finally come, in contrast to Kim with Ed we knew that Ed was going. The sun can’t shine every day. Yet somehow it was a bit easier to understand when we had all prayed that Ed would have rest and peace from his struggles. Not that we wanted him to go but that we wanted him to have his rest in Christ.
Let me add that the fatherhood of Ed Kreis was not confined to his own children, Ed was a father to more than Deb and Pam and Kim, some of you here today can attest to that and this is equally true for Kim. His fatherhood spilled over onto everyone who was near to him. It’s your first time fishing? Kim would teach you like he would teach his own children to make sure it was going to be a great day, the fish might not bite be Kim wanted to be sure you were confident in what you were doing and properly prepared so you could enjoy yourself whatever the day might bring. You need a place to stay on your way to a worksite or maybe after a night of caroling and partying with friends and neighbours? Then Kim had a place for you to sleep under the same roof with his family. Coworkers became friends and the friends of his kids would be treated like his own. Kim learned from Ed and you all have been learning from Kim. What did St. Paul say? “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” This is true for Kim and it true for Ed and they worked in their way to instill this in you. You have been learning this, this is one of those times when you get to stop and look and see all of the things you have been learning.
We heard in the Gospel today Jesus saying, “The works that I do in My Father’s name bear witness about Me” and what do these works bear witness of, Jesus concludes this thought by saying they bear witness that, “[He] and [His heavenly] Father are one.” When Ed died Kim did not completely lose his father, the lessons Kim learned about fatherhood from Ed were with Kim as he continued to be a father and as he grew into being a grandfather because Kim was living out what was instilled in him by his father: His passion for life, his efforts to always be learning, his dependable reliable commitment to family friends and his responsibilities, his faith in Jesus. And you now, his children, remember the works you do in Kim’s name because they bear witness about him and bear witness about you. If you are worried that you will for some reason not be the kind of parent to your children that Kim was to you, take heart and remember, Jesus was the perfect son of His heavenly Father and in Jesus there is forgiveness for you. Jesus said to us all, “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” and we can rest in the fact that Jesus was the one who fulfilled this, He was-is-and-ever-shall-be perfect as His heavenly Father is perfect. Be your best, this is what Kim strived for and when you’re not turn to Jesus for forgiveness.
This is Christian Fatherhood. St. Paul describes it like this when he says, “For this reason I bow my knees before [God] the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His [Holy] Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ [Jesus His Son] may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” God gives the gift of Fatherhood and for all that embrace it that gift spills over onto their children and should those children have an opportunity to be parents than they likewise have an opportunity to overflow with this love in action to their own children. I have witnessed this in your family. Deb you will see that love in action as your children raise their children. You have already witnessed this; I am certain you will continue to see it.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Deb you were there with Kim as his wife standing together on the ground, giving each other peace and making life easier: life is not always easy but together you were making it easier. You were a helper fit for him and he a helper fit for you, Faithful and true. From that now you see the relationships around you, lean on them. Keep the faith you will see Kim again in the flesh. As Christians we confess our faith in the resurrection of the dead. That Jesus who was raised up by His Father that first Easter Morning will raise us all up on The Last Day. You see right now it’s true that we’re here for a good time not a long time, so we live our life having a good time now because the sun can’t shine every day, except when it does, except when the sun will shine every day because there is a day coming when Jesus will make all things new, when the sun will shine and never go down and there will be no night and in that blessed place we, with our faith in Jesus will be there for a good time and a long time, because the life Jesus gives is eternal life, life without end. That place “has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb [of God Jesus]. By its light … the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,” what did St Paul say, “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” As it was with Ed, so it is with Kim Every now and then it's gotta rain but on that day the rain will stop forever and we will live in the sun together forever in Christ Jesus. So right now Jesus is the light, Jesus is the sun the shines on this rainy city of our grief and sadness. We will have our share of tears but even they will stop on That Day because our heavenly Father “will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Dear ones “we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.”
You will feel alone, without Kim there, an empty place at the table, behind the bar, in the boat or the ice fishing shack, in the pew next to you here yet remember in Christ Kim now fills a place next to Gert and Ed and all those who have gone on ahead of him in the faith, he joins with them in Christ Jesus and when our time comes we will join Kim there. The last time I saw Kim was at Logan’s baptism and it went something like this: As I was leaving Kim asked, “are you sure I can’t get you a drink?” I said “I’m sorry no, I can’t right now,” “are you sure?” “No I can’t,” He asked, “Can I get you something to eat?” “No, I’m sorry,” “The table’s just around the corner,” “No sorry I can’t go inside right now I’m sorry” Kim said, “Can I get you a plate? Can I get a food and put it on a plate for you to take home?” “No sorry Kim I can’t,” in the midst of all this pandemic … me having to say no was one of the hardest things. I said no trusting that when the pandemic was over and in our rear view mirror I would know Kim’s hospitality again. I didn’t know how long I was going to have to wait, I guess I really don’t know how long I’m going to have to wait but I fully expected to be in heaven to run into Kim and for him to hand me a rum and eggnog and see his smiling face, and to be with him Christ Jesus in the flesh.
Until that day we honour Kim’s memory, we trust in God our heavenly Father who poured His love and the love of His Son Jesus into the Kreis Family and into Kim and into each of us as it spilled over the brim of Kim’s cup and onto us: This is the love of God in action. Or let’s put it another way … Kim as we all know was a geologist and if he took you to a canyon he could point out, by looking at the stones, all the strata and sedimentary layers and the geological forces that formed the canyon, he could tell you about the river that cut into the stone and earth and formed what you are looking at in the moment. When we look at Kim’s life and the life of your family we see it in the moment right now, yet God the Father in His Son and by His Holy Spirit has been at work in Kim and in all of you shaping and forming what he became and you have become and, like I said, what you will be in the end has not yet been revealed but the LORD is still at work in you and His love continues to be poured out on you all as it was poured out on Kim. 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 10:25, 28
 Matthew 5:48
 Ephesians 3:14–19
 Genesis 2:18
 Acts 2:24, 5:30
 John 5:21, Philippians 3:21
 Revelation 21:25
 Revelation 21:23–24
 Revelation 21:4
 1 John 3:2
Photo Credits: Water Drop by Pixabay-220211 from Pexels; Father and Son Hands by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas from Pexels; Pouring Water on Hand by by Samad Deldar from Pexels; Detail of the Stone Sourced by Kim Kreis and Used by His Sons Drew and Erik to Make His Urn Photo by Pr. Ted Giese.