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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Funeral Sermon for Shirley Boll

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 Shirley.  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 Shirley, 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 Shirley 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.

When my wife Michele and I moved here to Western Kansas we had done all of our homework about the climate, the weather and the similarities in temperature for us having lived in Virginia.  There were two things that we didn’t take into account, one was the difference in how little moisture falls here on the high desert.  The other was the wind.  Now my daughter Sarah took to the wind like a duck to water, the first real windy Kansas days we were here she like a dog putting its head out the car window, just stuck her head up and opened her mouth and reveled in the wind blowing through her hair.  Michele and I on the other hand had to learn to adapt.  One of our first purchases for both of us was heavier jackets that would not be as easily penetrated by the cold icy wind of Northwest Kansas.

This morning as we remember Shirley and the life she had as wife, mother, employee and friend we can take solace and comfort in the words that Paul wrote to the people of Corinth about how they would be changed and clothed, not with a better winter jacket, but with the clothes of immortality.  Here again Paul’s words:

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 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. 55 O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is clear that Paul had a clear, distinct and complete understanding of death and how “we will be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” 

Though we frail human creatures have been conceived in sin, connected to our first parents Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, we find in death the completion of the story told to Adam and Eve that they and we would surely die if and when they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Sin and the result of it in death is so clearly manifest this morning and there is nothing that doctors, medical teams, modern medicine or even our society can do to prevent the turning of this page of our lives.  So we gather this morning to remember Shirley and the life she lived here on this earth as wife, mother, Wal-Mart employee and friend and say goodbye.

Please understand if death were the end of the story, we would have no hope.  But another Paul, we know as Paul Harvey coined a phrase that applies for Shirley and for us today.  Here is the rest of the story.

The Apostle Paul clearly connects with our situation today as he continues writing to the people at Corinth.  He tells them and us, “for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.  Today, the trumpet has sounded for Shirley and she now no longer is clothed in mortal things, but with immortality.  Her mortal attire has been forever changed and now “will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55 O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?

This morning we mourn the sting of death, for “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law”.  But this morning we celebrate in the life of Shirley the power of God through what His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ has done.  It is clear and the Apostle Paul tells us this eternal truth, “but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  All of this takes place for Shirley because of her baptism into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection.  Shirley has been set free from the bonds of sin and the law, sickness and death and now has put on the immortal, the imperishable and has the victory over sin and death through the victory found in what Jesus Christ has done on the cross of Calvary for her and for all of us.  Jesus Christ was perfect and fulfilled the law for Shirley and for us and she now wears not an old coat of life, but her new coat of immortality that for all eternity protects, comforts and is imperishable.  This same coat God offers to each of us in the promise made to Shirley in her baptism and makes to us today when we believe God’s words of forgiveness.  That is the promise God made to Shirley 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 Shirley’s life and ours!  AMEN!
//trial script