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Thursday, December 22, 2016

12222016 Funeral Sermon for Jessie Alice Jacobs Owens Enfield

December 22, 2016
Funeral for Jessie Alice Jacobs Owens Enfield
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 Redeemer, we gather today knowing that the veil of death has been drawn, and that as we mourn Jessie’s entrance into eternity, we believe Your Words of comfort and preparation for her and us today.  For the grace You offered Jessie in Holy Baptism has been fulfilled with her entrance into eternity.  Enable all of us who gather to hear and receive the truth of the Gospel to comfort and keep us and help us to not only hear, but heed the Gospel message You offer through Your Son Jesus Christ.  For this message is offered out of Your great love for us and found completion in Jesus Christ Who came in order to die so that we might have eternal life.  May this truth of the Gospel comfort us and enable us to trust in Your Son and Jessie’s Savior, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

This morning as we gather, I cannot help but think about something that was shared as the family and I gathered to prepare for this morning.  The truth is, we are only two days until one of the biggest family holidays of the year of Christmas.  For Jessie, holiday’s were ‘big’ and no one could say ‘no’ to her, since she was the ‘hub’ that connected her family.  Jessie as a loving and devoted wife, mother of three children, would always be the hostess with an eye at serving her family and friends whether green beans, cookies to send home or always looking how she could serve others, even when others were trying to serve her.

Bud summed up the gift we knew in Jessie very clearly and very well in what he penned and passed to me while visiting at the funeral home.  Bud wrote, “What was Jessie really like?  She was thoughtful, kind and caring to all!”  Truer words could not be written.  Jessie’s love for others endeared her to so many people, family, friends and even those who had the privilege to be taught by her whether in Sunday School or in bible study. 

Martin Luther in his catechism wrote, “we are to teach our children.”  And Jesse exemplified this not only with her own children, but with countless others that she gave bibles to here at Emmanuel and taught the true meaning of the Gospel and what Jesus Christ had done on the Cross of Calvary for all of mankind.

This spirit of service and ‘unconditional love’, Jessie clearly and emphatically lived her entire life, even to the very end.  For Jessie blessed so many people that her path either intersected with locally or when she was serving in many different capacities in the church, that even included missions to the Indians.  Here at Emmanuel Jessie was instrumental in giving bibles to children and teaching them the stories of the Holy Scriptures and the love God had for her she shared with others as she was the hand crafted mirror to reflect God’s love into each and every one of their lives.  Jessie clearly demonstrated a life of love, service and faith instilled and given unto her by her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ when she was grafted into the tree of life through her baptism into Jesus Christ life, death, but especially His resurrection.

When the Water connected with the Word of God gave Jessie the gift of faith, this gift of grace was clearly manifest, lived and demonstrated not only in her ‘unconditional love’ of others, but her connection with more people than can be counted.  Yet, Jessie’s connection with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in Holy Baptism was even more clear and present because if the doors of the church were open, she was here worshiping, serving and living out the calling of her faith in Jesus Christ.

It was clear to me as Pastor when I would visit Jessie and Bud in their home, ministry was not me to them, but it was going to be a mutual sharing of God’s unconditional love for each of us found in what Jesus Christ had accomplished on Calvary.  I knew I would be sitting at the feet of not only a person of faith, but a child of God who knew the Shepherd of her life, Jesus Christ.  And Jesus not only walked with Jessie, but guided her in the ‘paths of righteousness’ as David the Psalmist says.  And Jessie didn’t let her age nor her slowing down affect her, she was always giving, for she knew that Jesus was always with her each and every step of the way.  As David the Psalmist continues, “I will fear no evil: for thou art with me” and God never left Jessie’s side.  Even in the “valley of the shadow of death” when Warren entered eternal glory, Jessie insured that her family did not live without working multiple jobs, but still holding onto the Gospel message of Jesus Christ that was not only her comfort, but her passion. 

For God had a plan and God had prepared for what was fulfilled on Sunday.  You see, when John wrote our Gospel passage this morning, “I go to prepare a place for you,” God knew the day and the hour that Jessie would be brought home.  And God had prepared the mansion in heaven for Jessie’s arrival where God would “receive her unto Himself”.  For the truth is, the table was already prepared, Jessie’s head was already anointed by the Cross in her baptism and Jessie’s place at God’s table was ready for her entrance and now her being served.

You see, it was prepared for her by her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”.  And this is why Jessie clearly had and shared her personal relationship with Jesus Christ each and every day of her life.  Jessie wanted all people to know how much God loved them.  For Jesus Christ shined so brightly in Jessie’s life it was like the star spoken of that led the wise men to the Baby Jesus.  Jessie reflected the light of Christ into so many lives, because Jessie wanted to share with others the mansion prepared by Jesus Christ for everyone.
The last time I had the pleasure to bring Holy Communion to Jessie, we sat there in her room and I heard the sweetest prayer from her lips.  It was the Lord’s Prayer and how her faith continued to shine even with the darkness of her impending entrance into eternity.  From Jessie’s lips she not only laid claim to the faith given to her in Holy Baptism, but fulfilled for her and for each and every one of us on the Cross of Calvary.  For no truer proclamation could be proclaimed than the song we are about to sing.  You see, Jessie’s greatest friend was none other than Jesus Christ.  Not only has Jesus Christ prepared a mansion for Jessie and now we gather to celebrate her entrance into eternity.  Jessie’s belief in Jesus Christ was of Jesus Christ as not only her Lord and Savior, but her personal friend.

This morning, as we gather to say goodbye, Jesus Christ has fulfilled the final chapter of Jessie’s life and ushered her into eternity in His Holy Arms.  May we feel the comfort of God’s presence and peace and know that today, Jessie now rests from her labors and is now enfolded into and served by Her Lord and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

Now may the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding comfort us today as we celebrate Jessie, but especially Jesus offer of connection with each and every one of us.  AMEN.

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