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Saturday, April 7, 2012

04072012 Funeral Sermon Suzanne Couch

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 Suzanne, may our hearts be enabled to hear the Gospel message of the salvation Jesus Christ offers each of us today.  Though the veil of death separates us today from Suzanne, we are sure of the certain promise You made to the thief on the Cross that we will be with You in paradise.  Comfort us with this thought and let the salve of Your Gospel message surround us so we may hear clearly the Gospel message of what Your Son and our Savior Jesus Christ did on the Cross of Calvary for each and every one of us gathered here today.  AMEN.

In our lives we have many challenges that we each individually face.  But for a child, there are some challenges that for adults don’t seem all that hard.  A great example of this would be my daughter Sarah, who just turned three.  One of her favorite pastimes is to put together puzzles.  I am not talking only the simple 5 or 6 piece variety, but the floor puzzles that are 3 feet by 4 feet with upwards of 60 to 100 pieces.  Sarah without any pictures puts these puzzles together and to the amazement of her mother and both sets of grandparents does so with ease and great speed.

Today God through the Gospel of John puts all of the pieces of a puzzle together that we are presented with today from our reading.  Just as Suzanne enjoyed crossword puzzles and having her family gather together whether it was Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, John reveals to us the puzzle from our Gospel how God’s love for us gives us eternal life.  John wrote, “24 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

The mystery we have revealed to and for each of us today is how we who hear God’s Word can have eternal life.  We receive eternal life through the grace that God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit offers freely to each of us by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary.  Jesus Christ sacrifice on Calvary which ironically we mourned yesterday, Good Friday was the ultimate judgment for all of humanity.  In and through Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross of Calvary, we who have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His death for each of us are promised by God through the words of John that we will pass out of death into life when we believe in that Gospel message.  No longer will death have dominion over us.  No longer should we be fearful of our sins that we commit daily, but we are promised by God to have eternal life through Jesus Christ sacrifice for all of mankind, even Suzanne and each of us gathered here today.

Having said this, you might ask, but Pastor, what then do you say to us as we mourn Suzanne?  This is one of the puzzles of life that does have a simple answer.  For the answer to this we have to look to the Psalmist David.  We heard clearly the following, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:”.  Today we are walking through one of those valley’s in our lives where we feel alone, lost and having lost, not only a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, but especially a friend who could even laugh, even at her own expense.  Today, our loss is tangible.  We will not be able to garden, watch boxing or high school sports, go spotlighting or acquiring hay or listen to the clocks that chime on the hour in the living room, kitchen and all around the house.  Death is here and surrounds us clearly and tangibly and silenced her unique laugh.  But through David’s inspiration by the Holy Spirit we should “fear no evil” because God promises to us that hear and head His Gospel message that His “rod and staff they comfort me”.  This promise God makes to us is an abiding presence that was tangible in Suzanne’s life.

No matter the situation, Suzanne gave of herself, supported and was the backbone of the family.  Whether it was taking care of Grandma, caring for her garden, reading directions for what needed put together, Suzanne was there and willing to help, even if it was just her presence or her sense of humor. 

Just as Suzanne modeled for each of us her dedication, Jesus Christ models for all of us today His dedication to and for Suzanne and each of us today.  For in His dedication to being nailed to the Cross of Calvary, Jesus Christ in hanging from the Cross overcame sin, death and the grave for Suzanne and for each of us today.  In, through and by Jesus Christ life death and resurrection we who hear and head the Gospel as lived by Jesus Christ will partake of eternal life.  For having heard the message of salvation offered to and for each of us, we no longer understand the “valley of the shadow of death” in terms of Satan holding it over our heads or to be feared, but we now see and understand it through God’s eyes.  And we will proclaim with David, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” because of the free grace that Jesus Christ offers us through His innocent death on Calvary for each and every one of us.  Take peace, comfort and joy in this gift of God that we celebrate in the life of Suzanne today as she rests in her Lord and Saviors arms.  AMEN.
Now may the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding guard our hearts and minds and comfort us today, because of eternal life that Jesus Christ offers each of us today!  AMEN!
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