Phyllis Amundson Funeral Sermon - Psalm 145 November 15th 2019 / From Generation to Generation
Funeral Sermon for Phyllis Amundson - Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Friday November 20th 2019: Season of Pentecost / Psalm 145 "From Generation to Generation"
I will extol You, my God and King,
and bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You
and praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall commend Your works to another,
and shall declare Your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
and on Your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of Your awesome deeds,
and I will declare Your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of Your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The LORD is good to all,
and His mercy is over all that He has made.
All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD,
and all Your saints shall bless You!
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
and tell of Your power,
to make known to the children of man Your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of Your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The LORD is faithful in all His words
and kind in all His works.
The LORD upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to You,
and You give them their food in due season.
You open Your hand;
You satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all His ways
and kind in all His works.
The LORD is near to all who call on Him,
to all who call on Him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him;
He also hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD preserves all who love Him,
but all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
and let all flesh bless His holy name forever and ever.
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. I remember a visit with Phyllis not long after her husband Roy’s funeral when she said, “I just don’t know how people go through this without faith in Jesus,” Phyllis isn’t the only person who has said that to me along the way, and not just about grief but also about the major hardships in life, she also said the same when we talked about her visits to go see Heather during Heather’s cancer treatments, “I just don’t know how people go through this without faith.” Psalm 145 was a reading we had at Roy’s funeral and here we have it today: It is a reading that dovetails right into what Phyllis repeatedly said to me in our visits especially when you think of verses from the Psalm like “One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts,” and, “On the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works, I will meditate.”
At many and various times in Phyllis’ life she would meditate on God and His works, most often it was in Church – while planning the Service for today there were comments about the whole family together sitting in the pew at Church and even mention that there was a family habit of kicking your leg that would make the pew bounce a little bit – but then there were times when she would meditate on God and His works when thing were hard and challenging, during times of pain, and lose and grief and suffering. Phyllis didn’t shy away from God in those times because she knew the very thing that this Psalm teaches that “The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made.” Mercy comes to those who need it and in her career, her vocation, as a nurse she knew the mercy of God in action. In fact it was through her hands that God provided His mercy to those in need. She also knew that “The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down,” that, “The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” She called on God in her times of trouble and grief, be therefore encouraged to do the same in your times pain, and lose and grief and suffering: When you need mercy turn to the One who is merciful and remember that God accomplishes His mercy not in some nebulous way but in concrete things like Holy Communion, and the preaching of His Word, in the actual support given by your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Now when a Psalm like this one says something like this about God, “One generation shall commend [His] works to another, and shall declare [His] mighty acts,” it’s worth considering just how one generation actually does the work of commending the works of God to another. You’ve likely heard of Millennials, and Boomers of Generation X and the Zoomers and The Greatest Generation, Phyllis is part of “the Silent Generation” that’s the generation who were born between 1925 and 1945. They are the children who grew up during those years who are generally characterised as people who worked very hard and kept quiet. Certainly they didn’t keep quiet about everything but often when it came to their faith in Jesus they taught their children by their actions more than their words. As a result it is good to do as the Book of Hebrews says and “consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith,” that’s what Roy and Phyllis want you to do, they want you to “imitate their faith,” and remember those times when they did speak the word of God to you; remember how they brought you faithfully to the place where you could hear the Word of God spoken to you in Church in the readings and in the sermons and in Confirmation classes. The outcome of this way of life, their faithful attendance in Church along the course of their life, is that when times of pain, and lose and grief and suffering came to them they had their faith to lean on, they had Jesus to lean on and they both knew and trusted that Jesus was right there holding them up just as Jesus promised: That when they were bowed down Jesus was there to raise them up. Some of you today will say I have that and I’m not always in Church, you are an exception, maybe even exceptional, but trust me when I say it is 100% easier when you do take advantage of the gift God extends to you in places like Mount Olive Lutheran Church. Phyllis had health struggles of her own in these last couple years and yet she was here as recently as Sunday Oct 20th because she knew this to be true. She needed what was given here. She knew she needed to hear the good news of Jesus she also needed to hear the law preached to her too, she needed to hear about Jesus over and over and over again.
Psalm 145 also teaches us that the LORD “fulfills the desire of those who fear Him [that is those who respect and revere Him for His all powerful, all knowing, all present nature]; [that] He also hears their cry and saves them. [That] the LORD preserves all who love Him.” Now with Phyllis gone on ahead of you in the faith along with Heather and Roy the thing that the family desires most is their happy reunion in Christ, which for Roy and Heather and Phyllis is happening now and which for the rest of the family will happen in time. Therefore keep the faith, have them as an encouragement to you, stay close to God’s Word and you will be kept steadfast in your faith; you like they will come to your Last Day solid in your faith and the words that Jesus says in the Gospel of John will then be for you just as they have been for Roy and Heather and Phyllis, “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.” Jesus has placed me here in this place this day to remind you of His words, when He says, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.” Jesus desires you to believe in Him because as He says of Himself, He is “the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through [Him].” This is the bedrock of what Phyllis meant when she said, “I just don’t know how people go through this without faith in Jesus,” She knew that Jesus died in her place, forgave her all her sins, and gave her eternal life in His resurrection as a gift in her baptism. This is the faith she is passing down to you, these are the works of God that she is commending to you this day, and not by her own words but by the Word of God, “The LORD [who] is faithful in all His words and kind in all His works,” the Lord who will raise you up on The Last Day to life everlasting.
For those of you out there today who are part of “the Silent Generation” I know some of you have had heart to heart conversations about your faith in Jesus with your family, and that is good, if however you are one who has not done so, take this as an encouragement an encouragement to all generations, speak up and do as the Psalm says, “speak of the might of [God’s] awesome deeds, and … declare [His] greatness … pour forth the fame of [God’s] abundant goodness [to those you know] and sing aloud of [Jesus’] righteousness.”
Phyllis rests now in her peace, and her peace is Christ Jesus, the LORD, the same LORD Jesus who says to you, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” 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.
 Hebrews 13:7
 John 14:2
 John 14:1
 John 14:6
 John 14:27