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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sermon 01122012 Funeral Maurice Leeland 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 brother in Christ Maurice.  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 Maurice, we are sure of the certain promise You made to us in our baptism where You signed, sealed and delivered the promise that in being baptized into Your death we are certainly raised with You in Your resurrection.  Comfort us with this thought and let the sign made over Maurice’s head and heart in baptism and the salve of Your Gospel message surround us so we may hear clearly the Gospel message You proclaimed to Maurice on the day of his baptism and which You proclaim here today in truth, purity and peace to Your saints, especially the saints of his family and all of us gathered here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

My daughter Sarah from birth has been an inquisitive child and as her parents Michele and I wanted to teach her some sign language since babies don’t develop their speech for a few years.  So we bought the books that taught simple sign language so we could more easily communicate.  One of the first signs we started with was the simple sign for ‘more’.  Sarah picked up on this rather easily and even now, as she is almost three she continues with the sign of more when we have some of her favorites like candy, fizzy water or her all-time favorite of a caffeinated drink whether soda, tea or even coffee.

This morning we come to say goodbye to Maurice while still grappling with our own mortality.  Maurice, like Sarah knew some signs as well, whether it was as a player on the baseball diamond, as coach on third base sending signals to hitters or runners on base to steal for second or third, while playing for the American Legion, or even in fast pitch softball with Gerry and Ron, Maurice understood the signs.  Maurice even knew the calls of the caller in square dancing and could maneuver his lifelong partner Irene on the dance floor with grace and elegance, whether it was Western Square dancing or the polka.  And playing cards, whether at home with the kids or at Pecks on Friday night.  Morris could read and give the right signs.

Not only from his youth on the baseball field but as a soldier in World War II, Maurice unit the 5th Armored Division had a sign.  They were known as the “V” division, or “Victory Division”.  And while fighting in World War II in Europe the 5th Armored Division liberated France, Belgium and Germany and Maurice served his country with honor and distinction as tank commander and turret gunner even quickly touring Paris as seen through the periscope of his turret. 

This morning we heard in our Old Testament lesson from Isaiah the promises of what the Spirit of God would do.  In Maurice’s life, he and those he fought with in the Army “proclaimed the liberty to the captives and freed the prisoners” and gave the French and us the opportunities we have today to live in a land of freedom.  But Isaiah clearly says for Maurice and us today that this occurs “because the Lord has anointed me” and this anointing took place on the day of Maurice’s baptism.

On that day December 11, 1949, Maurice in and through the waters of Baptism, was redeemed by God through the blood of the lamb and anointed with the Holy Spirit and given a “mantle of praise”.  Water intimately connected with Word washed Maurice and gave him the gift of eternal life.  He was now “clothed with garments of salvation” in his baptismal glory.  And in his life with his wife Irene would be blessed as postman delivering the mail, as baseball coach and worshiping his Lord and Savior, here at Emmanuel.

Throughout his life, God continued to fulfill the promise of David the Psalmist and prepared for Maurice “a table” where God fed Maurice with His precious Body and Blood and “anointed Maurice head with oil and his cup runneth over”.  God “restoreth his soul and lead him in the paths of righteousness for his names sake”.  And God makes this promise to us today, when we partake of Jesus Christ precious Body and Blood, we share not only in the meal, but we share this meal with both Maurice and Irene who now are among the saints of God.

For God’s promise has been fulfilled, Maurice heard the call and headed the sign God made over his head and heart on the day of his baptism and Jesus words, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” is now fulfilled in our sight.  Though the veil of death separates us, God’s promise from Isaiah for Maurice is now a concrete reality, “He has wrapped Maurice with a robe of righteousness”.  And now Maurice in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection can sing with the choirs of angels the fulfillment of David’s Psalm, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  For this morning in God’s house God brings to fulfillment and completion what Jesus Christ has done for Maurice 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 God’s peace which surpasses all human understanding, guard our hearts and minds and comfort us today, because of what Jesus Christ did in Maurice’s life and ours!  AMEN!

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