Linda Katherine Knuth Funeral Sermon - John 14:1–7 August 7th 2021 / Ready and at Peace
Linda Katherine Knuth Funeral Sermon / Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. A. Ted Giese / Saturday August 7th 2021: Season of the Pentecost / John 14:1-7, "Ready and at Peace."
“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; Emil, Tammie, Jennifer, family and friends: Even when we know something will eventually happen it is still a shock when it does happen. On the other hand when things go better than you could hope it produces true joy and happiness. Cancer treatments 25 years ago were not as advanced as they are today and yet even today people die from cancer. Linda, by the grace of God, surpassed our expectations and lived through her first six bouts of cancer beating the odds over and over again. For 25 years she was able to be with you to experience the joys and happinesses of life, had we lived a hundred years ago Linda would have departed this life much sooner than she did. That said having beat cancer so many times the hope was that she would do so again. So we arrive to a day like this with shock even though we knew such a day could come and would more than likely come eventually.
Linda being a baptized Christian has promises. Jesus made promises to her as He makes them to all Christians. They are for all people who trust in Him, they are also a call to remember the faith you’ve been given, an invitation to trust in Him, to join the faith that uplifted and held Linda up through her life. Listen now and be attentive to His word and promise:
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
From our Gospel reading today the night before His crucifixion and death Jesus says, “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.”
Forty days after His resurrection from the dead after that first Easter Jesus said right before ascending to heaven, “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.”
“I will give you peace,” “you will find rest for your souls,” “I will come and take you to Myself,” “I am with you always.” What do you carry with you into the face of struggle? What words of comfort stand with you as you love and support your family? What promises do you hold in your heart as you walk through the sunny days of life and as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death? Who is with you always as you walk there, as you fall asleep and as you wake up? Linda trusted that it was Christ Jesus and it was His word that was likewise with her along the way. When you have such support and you trust it securely, it doesn’t mean you’ll never be afraid, it doesn’t mean you won’t have terrible days sometimes, it doesn’t make you superhuman, but it does mean you don’t have to be afraid, and if you are you can put those fears aside. Trusting these promises means you can get your mind off of yourself and love and support the ones around you, the ones you love because you know that you yourself are safe in the hands of Jesus. Emil when it comes to Linda you may be the one who experienced this the most because she was the closest one to you and you were the one closest to her.
Many of us likewise, to differing degrees, experienced the love, kindness, sense of humor and support Linda so freely gave, and she was free to give it because her faith was firmly placed and held in Christ Jesus. That’s what fueled her love, as the Bible says “we love because [God] first loved us.” I’m asking you now to do what Scripture councils us all to do: In the book of Hebrews the Bible says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Linda’s faith was placed in this same changeless Jesus, the one who holds us up and carries us through into eternal life, our Good Shepherd, our Redeemer, the one who gives us rest for our souls.
We celebrate the life Linda lead, we remember the hymns and songs she sang to us, we are called to imitate her faith as we are called to imitate the faith of all the faithful, a faith that finds forgiveness of sins, courage in adversity and strength in times of struggle firmly rooted in the life, death, resurrection, ascension and promises of Jesus.
Cherish the time you have already had with Linda in this life, including the extra time (these past 25 years) and remember there is more time to come. For the Christian there is an eternity of time coming where there will be no need for clocks or calendar to mark the days or the hours or the years because there will be no end to the time you’ll have together there in that place prepared for you by Jesus in His Cross and passion. Live your lives today in Christ and rest in Him and in Christ Jesus you will have the happy reunion in heaven where the sun will never set on your joy.
In the weeks and months to come it will feel like time is going by so slowly, but so much can be done with the time we have been given, remember how much Linda did with you in the time that she had. Do likewise, for none of us know how much time we have: It may be long, it may be short. Our hour may come unexpectedly, it may come after a long struggle, or The End may come for us all at once in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the trumpet, for Jesus can return at any moment, the promised return can happen in an instant. As He ascended into heaven and the disciples stood staring into the sky angels appeared to them saying, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Which brings us back around to where we started: Even when we know something will eventually happen it is still a shock when it does happen. On the other hand when things go better than you could hope it produces true joy and happiness. One of the last things Linda said in the face of her death, with her whole life behind her and her whole eternal life before her was “I’m at peace, I’m ready,” even as we are conflicted about leavening the ones we love is this not what we all want as we come to that hour? To be able to say “I’m at peace, I’m ready.” And should Christ return to us, should The End come in our lifetime we want to be able to say the same. The Christian through their life is always being prepared to be ready and at peace with Jesus’ return, to be ready and at peace however Jesus comes to us whether in the Resurrection on The Last Day or at our death bed. For the Christian we are free to fear the grave as little as we fear our bed at night, for the Christian death is but a sleep and one who is asleep will wake up to a New Day with their body, soul and mind made new united in the love of Christ Jesus.
The return of Jesus on The Last Day will be a shock even though we have longed for it, confessed the truth of it in the Apostles’ Creed. For the Christian That Day will go better than expected and will bring true joy and happiness. On That Day God “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.” Cancer, that former painful thing, will have passed away, but Linda will not have passed away for her life is in Christ Jesus. The Christian is tucked away in Jesus, at rest, in peace, awaiting The Day of their revelation, The Day of their reappearing. This is the promise: and I am sure of this, that the Holy Spirit who began this good work of faith in Linda and in you, even if that good work of faith has only started in the hearing of these words today, will bring it to completion at The Day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dear ones, God is faithful, He is gracious and merciful slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, we learn to imitate this in our lives as Christians with those around us and where we fail at this we turn to God for forgiveness and we continue to learn, to grow, to love. He is ever more gracious, ever more merciful, ever more forgiving, ever more loving than we are even in our best of days. We are saved by Him; we are not expected to save ourselves. And in Jesus we learn to take each day one day at a time. Some people like Linda start to learn this lesson early in life and some start to learn this lesson later in life; do not let this lesson pass you by. 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.
 Matthew 11:28-29
 John 14:1–3
 1 John 4:19
 Hebrews 13:7–8
 Acts 1:11
 Revelation 21:4
 Colossians 3:2–4, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
 Philippians 1:6