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Friday, December 30, 2011

Sermon 12302011 Funeral Irene Peters Daise

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 Irene.  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 Irene, 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 Irene 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 all of us gathered here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

Growing up in rural Southside Virginia we had one claim to fame for our small town.  It was a festival known as Dixie Days.  This was an annual festival where crafts, food and fellowship were enjoyed.  One of the highlights of Dixie Days was an afternoon exhibition of Square Dancing put on right in front of the motel where the Dixieland Band played.  As you well know Irene and Maurice were constant partners in square dancing and though I may not have seen them personally dance, I know when they heard “Face your neighbor, balance and swing” they were off to the races and would leave me in the dust with my two left feet.

This morning we come to bid the long-time dance partner of Maurice good bye.  As constant companion on this earthly pilgrimage during all the dances, Irene embodied what partnership truly meant.  Constantly by her husband’s side, whether as dance partner, cheerleader for the baseball teams of both husband and sons or card partner playing the Pecks on Friday night, Irene’s dedication to family and church was clear to everyone.  One of my first experiences with Maurice and Irene was a trip to McDonalds and encountering them as was ritual for coffee or a hamburger and being greeted by their friendly faces.

King Solomon, wise ruler and author of Ecclesiastes said it well, “1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”.  Just as in square dancing the caller tells what movements are coming, we have a great promise and purpose from our Lord Jesus Christ of the path we are to take in our lives.  The path that God called Irene to not only included daily partner to Maurice, and never ending supporter of Jerry and Ron and their children, but was especially for Irene as a child of God embraced and redeemed by the blood of the lamb in her baptism into Jesus Christ, life, death and resurrection which forgave her sin and imparted eternal life.

Just as the Psalmist David wrote in the 23rd Psalm, Irene never was in want, because God provided, husband, sons and family that danced with her on her journey of life as accountant at the Co-Op or for Hastings or as clerk at JCPenny.  As Irene journeyed through life, sometimes tinkling the ivories of piano or organ, God “lead her in the paths of righteousness” and “beside the still waters”.  God brought her husband home safe from Europe and from his daily work at the post office.  Yet, for Irene because of God’s continued presence and promise of husband and family she “feared no evil” because of God’s promise made to her in her baptism with Water and Word that “Thou O Lord art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comforted” Irene and us today.

Thus with Paul the prolific writer, Irene has “fought the good fight…finished the course…and kept the faith”.  And now as she rests in her loving Savior’s arms, Irene wears the “crown of righteousness, which the Lord…has given to her”.  For this crown was given to Irene through the promise offered to her and to us by our Lord Jesus Christ in our baptism into His life, death and resurrection.  For Jesus as quoted by John said to Irene and to us today, “ye believe in God, believe also in me”.  Jesus saith unto us, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

This morning we can be assured that God has fulfilled His promise for Irene.  As we celebrate the life of Irene God fulfills the final promise we find in David’s Psalm which says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  In God’s house we will find Irene because of what Jesus Christ has done for her and us in and through our baptism into His life, death and resurrection for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning 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 Irene’s life and ours!  AMEN!
//trial script