Victor Thalgott Funeral Sermon - Romans 8 / February 21st, 2023 / No Separation from the Love and Life in Christ
Text: Romans 8
Theme: “No separation from the Love of God in Jesus”
Intr – Dear family and friends, a funeral is a moment of separation. The Thalgott family and friends are now separated from Victor on this side of heaven. Separated from a life lived with so many highlights, as we heard from the tribute today. That is why when death strikes the feeling we are left with is of separation. At this time we might wonder: what if separation would never have to happen? What if would be possible to be close to our loved ones, keeping the love exchange going on forever?
This is possible, actually. Not only possible but it is something very real. A Christian Funeral Service is the moment when we celebrate the life of the person we love; but above all we celebrate Life, capital L. The Life we have in Christ, whose love gives us a life that never ends.
This is what Paul tells us in Romans 8: “Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus”. He doesn’t leave room for “exceptions,” “only when”, or “only if”. Absolutely nothing in the entire Creation can prevent us from being loved by God.
Victor experienced this is his life, as he was called to faith by the Holy Spirit and by the Word and Sacraments was sustained in faith. In that faith He was loved by Jesus and he trusted the love of his Lord and Saviour. When we think about why some of his good characteristics would emerge when family and friends think about him, when can’t help but remember that faith bear fruits. Christians, as they have their faith in Christ, they live this faith in life. Our faith is active in love. Now if we as imperfect humans know that nothing can ever make the love we have for our loved ones end, talk about God’s love for his children!
However, on a day like today, when loss and mourning are present, some words from St Paul may seem a little odd to hear, as when he says: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,” It seems the other way around, for we have to face death and sorrow. When we sharpen our concept of good against God’s Word though, we learn that there is nothing better in life that to be in Him – that’s what the rest of the verse says: “for those who are called according to his purpose.” We were called to be His, so now everything works for our good, even losses, even difficulties, even death. The main reason for that is we know death doesn’t have the final say. Life does. Our life once started never ends; after death, after the Last Day comes eternity with Jesus. There can be no greater good than this. Definitely, everything works for good in Christ.
So even when the separation of death comes, it is temporary. When we depart this world connected to Christ by faith we already know we will see each other again. We will be reunited with God and our loved ones who went ahead of us in faith, to live forever with Christ in the New Earth and New Heavens. A place where grandpas and grandmas, kids and grandkids, friends and complete strangers will come together to worship the Lord and to live a perfect life of love, kindness, and joy. Living in this faith makes all the difference in moments like these when we lose people we love and have to deal with grief and sorrow: nothing will be able to remove us from God’s love, for in all things God works for our good through faith.
Cc – Separations always hurt; whether we have to make a decision to separate from a person, or if the person is separated from us. We mourn and we feel sad, but we have to carry on in life. As you do so, remember Jesus’ message for you in your darkest hours and saddest moments. In all of them You have the caring love of the Good Shepherd, guiding you to Green pastures and still waters, walking with you and wiping your tears. He separates you and all faithful from a world of pain and sorrow to bring us close to His arms of comfort, hope and peace. In this faith and in this hope, we celebrate love and Life. For nothing in the entire world can ever and will ever separate us from the Love and Life we have in Christ.