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Thursday, July 23, 2015

07232015 Funeral Sermon Sylvia Mae Hybl

Sermon Audio (Will be posted soon!)

Funeral Sermon
Sylvia Mae Hybl
July 23, 2015

Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ!

If you were to travel to the desert southwest, it is clear that not only is it dry and a desert, but everything, from the vegetation, the animals and even the people have struggled being controlled.  From trying to establish a life, a home and even a living, it is clear that everyone living there struggles, whether with making a living or even being controlled by the situations they encounter.  Sylvia loved the Southwest.  When travelling there to help her friends, Sylvia felt at home.  But there was a reason why the Southwest was her favorite place.  Sylvia like a lot of us gathered here today struggled throughout her life.  We who gather struggle with health, jobs, relationships, school or a reality or a past that we had no control over.  But in the desert, the struggle that Sylvia personally felt was diminished.  Sylvia felt free to be the person that God had made her to be.

Today, we gather, not in a desert, but as family and friends who have encountered death very clearly and closely with our loss of Sylvia.  Sylvia no longer struggles.  She is accepted and she has been welcomed.  For today we gather to celebrate the fulfillment by God of the promise made to Sylvia in her Holy Baptism.  Though life seemed to continuously knock her down, Sylvia was promised by God very clearly an offer of grace that could not be duplicated, nor equaled by any here on earth.  For when God by the hands of a Shepherd He chose washed Sylvia with Water and the Word of God in Holy Baptism, God offered Sylvia eternal life and salvation by her baptism into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection.

With Water intimately connected to Word, God offered to Sylvia the gift of eternal life.  When we spoke only a few short weeks ago, we both knew that Sylvia’s time here on earth was short.  We laughed, we cried, we talked of the times at Spillville and the fireworks, our summer visits by all of her family, siblings, nieces and nephews, and all of the people she held dear.  We also talked about the truth she had heard from her birth of what Jesus Christ offered her in Holy Baptism.  And that when the time came God would fulfill His promise to her with her entrance into eternity, her entrance into the church triumphant, her entrance into the place prepared for her by her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

For Jesus words found in the Gospel of St. John I just read are true.  God has prepared a place for Sylvia.  But God prepared it, not because she deserved it, but clearly and specifically because of His great love for Sylvia and for all of mankind.  You see, Jesus Christ prepared a place for Sylvia, because He wants to relieve the struggles we carry today.  We struggle with relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we struggle with our weight, we struggle with how we are treated by friends, family and especially our society, but God in preparing a place for us makes good on the promise made to each of us in our baptism into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection.

You see, Jesus said it plainly, “if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself”.  And God has received Sylvia into His Holy Hands.  God clearly and firmly now has lifted all the struggles from Sylvia and now she rests with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  For the struggles she dealt with have been paid and atoned for by Jesus Christ innocent death on Calvary.  No longer does Sylvia have the pain associated with her body, nor the weight of the world she carried for all the cats that she loved throughout the years.  Sylvia no longer bears the burdens of sin, because Jesus Christ lifted all of that from her shoulders and offered her eternal life with the forgiveness He won for her and for each of us on Calvary.

So now Sylvia today clearly rests in the place prepared for her and one day for each of us, by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Yet, this only occurs, because of something Sylvia firmly believed.  You see when Sylvia lived in Arizona, she enjoyed singing in the choir.  One Easter her choir sang a song that clearly proclaimed not only the preparation of a place for each of us in God’s Kingdom, but a clear truth we who gather here today need to hear and sing from the roof tops.

On that Easter Sunday, the choir sang, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”.  That Easter Ballad clearly states our belief in Jesus Christ and what He did in His rising from the grave.  He was triumphant and conquered even death for each of us.  But especially stanza 7 states, “He Lives my mansion to prepare; He lives to bring me safely there.”

Today God fulfills this for Sylvia and one day for each of us.  May we not only believe Jesus Christ lives, but He offers us the greatest gift of grace for all of mankind with His life that He lived, His death where He conquered that which confronts us today, but especially His resurrection that we have been baptized into.  For God’s gift of grace is freely given for each of us and may God’s Gospel comfort each of us, but especially Virginia, Dick, Chuck and Gloria and all the family who come to say goodbye to Sylvia as she now rests from her labors in her Lord and Saviors arms.  AMEN.

Now may the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding, guard your hearts and minds and may we find comfort and peace from our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ Who holds Sylvia in His Holy Arms.  AMEN.

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