Raymond Kainz Funeral Sermon - 1 Corinthians 13, Jan 30th 2019 / The greatest of the three is Love
Text: 1 Corinthians 13
Theme: The greatest of the three is Love
Intr – If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I play instruments, and use my talent in the Church, but have no love, I am just an out of tune gadget. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I become a mayor of my town twice, or if I dedicate myself to my family, if I teach Sunday School and become a chairman of my Church, If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
You certainly noticed that I’ve changed a bit the epistle reading for today. Some of the features I mentioned in this introduction are Ray Kainz’s life highlights, as family shared with me last week, and as many of you know. Why did I do that? Because if you knew Ray, you know that’s where his faith was grounded on. As a Christian, he knew he should do all the good he could to follow God’s will and share His Word and care with all. But as a Christian he also knew that the strength didn’t come from himself, but from God. He knew that salvation and justification were not depending on his good deeds – but exclusively on God’s love in Christ. Without this love, nothing we do really matters before Him.
1 Corinthians 13 is a Bible passage we see more in weddings than in funerals. But that was Ray’s choice for today along with the other readings. A good pick, since the Love poem Paul puts forth in this chapter, true as it is that it can be used for weddings, fits even better for life and death situations. Paul is speaking not about the marital love, or even the fraternal love. He is speaking of agape, the love that comes from God, the Love God has manifested toward us and permeates our life. This love is perfect, and will last forever.
This love was made known to Ray in the waters of his Baptism, when he received, when we all receive, the saving faith that connected him with God. The saving faith that is the means through which we have God’s love poured out in our lives. The means through which we live life secured by God’s love and care.
This love certainly pushes us towards doing good in life, helping our Church, our community. Leads us to dedicate ourselves to our families, to our friends, and also to take care of the world we live in. We can all, and we should all do that in our lives. Above all though, remains the truth that those works don’t save us, they bring us any credit to a supposed savings account before God. They don’t sustain us, just as fruits do not sustain a tree, but rather its roots. That is why Ray has also as chosen Matthew 1 as the Gospel reading for today, where the angel announces to Joseph that His wife Mary will bear the Saviour of the World: “21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
He saved us from our sins. This is what really matters in the end. During Ray’s last days of life here with us on Earth I was able to see Him several times, bringing the word of God, bringing Holy Communion, bringing prayers and songs, all pointing to this one truth He knew till the end – That Christ’s love is what takes us, through repentance and faith, from the darkness of sins to the bright Light of Life with Him. Christ’s love sustains us, Christ’s love guards us, Christ’s love helps us to endure even our last days and hours on Earth, knowing that, as hard as death is to be faced by us mortal sinners, it is already defeated by the One who loved us so much that He himself died in our place to redeem us from our sins, and to bring us into newness of life.
This Love has no end, has no boundaries, no distinction. It is for you, it is for me. God’s love is the way we are brought close to Him, we are sustained by Him. God’s love is what consoles and comforts us as we mourn someone we love that is not with us here anymore. God’s love brings us the certainty that we will see them again, when the last day comes and we will be resurrected to live forever.
Cc – I learned from the family that moving from Southey to Regina, some years ago, was a hard move for the Kainzes. Now, Betty faces another hard move – Ray was transferred to our Home in Heaven. However, as hard as it is for us as frail human beings that we are, this is the last and most blessed move. Ray is now with Christ until the Last Day, the resurrection for life everlasting. While we will mourn here, and carry on, we will live by faith, we will in hope. But above all, we will live in the greatest of the three: Love.