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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Funeral Sermon 10042011 Tamara Jean Flanders Bahe

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Heavenly Father as we gather here to celebrate the life of our sister in Christ Tamara.  May our hearts be enabled to hear clearly Your Word spoken to our hearts and comfort us as we mourn.  Though the veil of death separates us today from Tamara, we are sure of the certain promise You made to us in our baptism that in being baptized into Your death we are certainly raised with You in Your resurrection.  Comfort us with this thought and let the salve of Your Gospel message surround us so we may hear clearly the Gospel message You proclaimed to Tamara on the day of her baptism and which You proclaim here today in truth, purity and peace to Your saints, especially the saints of her family and those gathered here.  AMEN.

One of the joys of being a minister is teaching the youth of the congregation about the faith given to us in our baptism and revealed to us in Holy Scriptures.  Recently in confirmation, we were studying Adam and Eve our parents created by God in His image.  With child like curiosity I wonder what it would have been like to have seen God form and shape Adam from the dust of the earth and then Eve from the rib of Adam.  As Adam said, Eve was ‘bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh’ and the connection they had was tangible.  So to is the connection that God has with each of us today as we mourn and say goodbye to Tamara.

You see, we are offered in Holy Scripture a glimpse of God’s hand upon Tamara’s life and our own life and the lives of the prophets who heralded Jesus Christ.  As we heard from Job, he knew pain, suffering and loss and knew that death was an ever present reality, but his faith in God was clear.  Job writes, “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.  Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God”.  This model of faith in God Job offers us is the model that Tamara was given in her baptism.  In her baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God gave her a muscle of faith that she used daily in her journey here on earth.  She clearly modeled her selfless heart of faith like that of the prophet Job.  Tamara helped others gain a different perspective with challenges or difficulties and enabled them to see beyond those things that were burdening and troubling while drinking a simple cup of coffee around the kitchen table or local coffee shop.  Clearly Tamara helped a lot of you sitting in the pew today to shoulder the burdens of life here in Goodland, KS.

Yet, this model of bearing burdens, is foreign to fallen creatures as we are, but through the waters of baptism, God modeled for and promised Tamara and us today to bear us up on Eagles wings.  The Psalmist clearly says, “For you have made the Lord, my refuge, even the most high, your dwelling place…He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.”  Not only will the angels have charge over us, but “No evil will befall you”, for not only will God’s Holy ones care for us, but the promise made to all of us in our baptism is true, we have been baptized into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection.  We like Tamara can cast our burdens upon Jesus Christ, for He came down from heaven as the perfect model for us and Tamara clearly understood Jesus mission and model for each and every one of us.

For Jesus promise was clear as He spoke through John when He said, “All that the Father gives me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”  This promise Jesus spoke to Tamara and makes clear to and for us today when He says, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.  For God’s promise that we can lay hold to today is of the sure and certain promise Jesus says, “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day. 

This promise of eternal life that Tamara had through her baptism into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection is fulfilled today in our hearing for Paul drives this home for us today as we say goodbye to Tamara about the life she had and which we can have as well.  Paul writes, “But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.  O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY?  O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law, but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, Tamara has the victory offered by Jesus Christ and His innocent death on the cross.  In her baptism when she was given the muscle of faith she was promised this victory by Jesus Christ over sin, death and the devil.  Yes we lay her mortal remains in the grave today, but God will raise up on the last day her heavenly body.  She will be clothed with righteousness, and the imperishable where “Death will be swallowed up in victory” and she will as Psalm 23 ends “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  That is the promise God made to her and makes to us today and which we celebrate with the words, “God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel to say goodbye.  AMEN.

Now may the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding guard our hearts and minds and comfort us today, because of what Jesus Christ did in Tamara’s life and ours!  AMEN!
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