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Sunday, June 18, 2017

06162017 Funeral Sermon for Marilyn Faye Weinaug Martin

June 16, 2017
Funeral for Marilyn Faye Weinaug Martin

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, we gather here at Emmanuel knowing that today what we hold in our minds eye, are not just memories, but clear pictures of Marilyn’s earthly life which now is completed with her entrance into eternity.  As we mourn her passing, may Your Word, paint a vibrant picture for us reminding us of Who and what inspired her creativeness and enable us to be comforted with the salve of the Gospel.  For it is clear that the love You showered upon her and she shared with those whom she knew and loved, found its ultimate demonstration for her by her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary.  May the picture and fulfillment of His love surround us today and enable us to be comforted with the true knowledge that Marilyn was baptized into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection and now rests in her Lord and Savior’s arms, welcomed into her eternal heavenly home, by her beloved Stan as they dance to the music of heaven surrounded by God’s love.  AMEN.

All of us have heard the saying that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.  When I was discerning the Call to Emmanuel Lutheran almost 7 years ago I received in the packet about the church about 60 pictures.  It included some of the most recent candid pictures of the members of Emmanuel.  As I looked through the stack, one particular picture struck me.  Not only was it a picture of a couple sitting in the last pew at the back of the church, like all good Lutheran’s do, but the picture was of an older couple, the husband was big, bald and built like a linebacker and the wife was petite, prim and proper and had stunning silver hair just like my mother.  As I turned the picture over, I learned their names, but did not realize then the impact they would have upon my life, my family and ministry while here in Goodland.

The picture was of none other than Stan and Marilyn.  My first personal impression when I met both of them was of a loving couple that would do anything for anyone.  Their love not only for each other, but their four kids, Cindy, Sharon, Monte and Marla and their grandkids and great-grandkids knew no bounds and the pride they felt when talking about each and every one of them.  If there was an event occurring across the state or across the country, they were there, come ‘heck or high water’, their attitude was clear, “Get it done” and ‘be there or be square’.  And this willingness to travel even since I came to Goodland, showed their love, commitment and desire to put family first even if it meant a long drive.

Clearly their personal drive was demonstrated by Stan’s always working, whether at the Elk’s, implement dealership or farming, yet behind every man is a great woman who is truly the glue, but behind the scenes.  Marilyn was the glue and demonstrated her commitment to her family in many ways.  In the home by being the homemaker who could bake, cook, clean and ran her house with military precision and meticulous detail, even down to having a special puma stone that travelled when necessary.  Or on Saturday night while Stan was working down at the Elk’s, Marilyn with her girls would watch Green Acres, My Three Sons and of course The Lawrence Welk Show and dance around with them after their hair was made ready for church on Sunday. 

Marilyn was even willing to like a mother hen, nurture not only her own brood of son and daughters, but even the neighborhood children, feeding them if they were hungry, making delicacies like sugar cookies with individual names for special occasions and even by her willingness to be the ‘Blue Bird’ and Campfire Girl leader.  For some being a leader would have been a daunting task, but Marilyn embraced it with her Texas tenacity and can do attitude and enjoyed these times and made the events and the programs special, from handmade and hand sewn items expressing her creativeness given to her by God and her willingness to make the parties fun, from the party favors, the food, games and even with the skits that were the envy of all the other groups.  Everybody wanted Marilyn as their leader, because she was fun, from playing cards, to laughing to planning and executing the best ‘themed parties’. 

Recently one of the young ladies she impacted brought back her campfire vest and shared with Marilyn and her family the lasting impact Marilyn had upon herself as well as many other young ladies.  Once her daughters had ‘flown the nest’ and successfully become independent like her son had become in his own right, even in the face of adversity, Marilyn continued to impact others in the community in the courts and even the girls at the Tech College and especially with her longtime love and dance partner Stan.  And this is the woman I first met when I arrived in Goodland who had many creative friends right here in church who at the time were her kindred and creative spirits that walked with her on the journey of life.

Marilyn sadly though in April 2011, in my first year here, sadly suffered the most traumatic event when she and Stan were vacationing in Texas.  Marilyn fell and it was uncertain what the future would hold.  As a Pastor, I was helpless, because I couldn’t travel to minister to them as I wanted, but when they arrived back here in town, and Marilyn was in the hospital, not only had their world changed, but the next six years brought many mountain top experiences like their 60th anniversary and sadly even some unexpected twists and turns, but the bright tenacious, prim and proper image of Marilyn shined through.

Yet through all of it, there has been a thread that has been the cornerstone in Marilyn’s life, from New Braunfels, Texas to a chance date to a young strapping Airman in San Antonio, and ultimately moving here to Goodland, KS 64 years ago.  And this thread the relationship Marilyn had with God, epitomized in none other than the greatest Psalm that David wrote and that we heard only a few minutes ago.  The 23rd Psalm perfectly encapsulates the journey of her lifetime, but especially the last few years.  Stan, Marilyn and all of the family walked through the “valley of the shadow of death”, but God’s promise that “the Lord is my shepherd” was daily fulfilled giving unto Stan and Marilyn the opportunity to live and love one another and their family and continue to demonstrate their love not only for each other, their kids, grandkids and even great grandkids as the couple that continued to be fiercely independent and the clear desire to live life on their terms being independent and creatively staying in their own home.

But, things had changed.  The image of Marilyn who was creative, meticulous and imaginative like the image reflected in the mirror recently was not easily seen because of the fog, like on the mirror from a hot shower.  Marilyn the woman we knew and loved was still there, but as a result of her fall and other factors, was not as clearly seen nor experienced the same every day.  But through these times, God’s Word still rang true, God as David wrote, insured that He would “prepare a table before” Marilyn, God “anointest [my] Marilyn’s head with oil” and God insured that Marilyn’s “cup runneth over”.  For this is what Marilyn learned growing up in Texas, shared with her family every time they would take the long night time ride in the cool of the night before air conditioning.  And when they would arrive at “The Hill” as you can see on the front of your bulletin, Marilyn’s Mom would be standing underneath the arch at the gate with open arms, ready to welcome, love and embrace in true Texas fashion and style her Kansas family.

This picture is exactly what God wants us to firmly and faithfully hold onto and remember this morning.  You see, last week, we experienced the Marilyn we all knew and loved so much.  God gave us one last gift of grace, mercy and especially His love when Marilyn woke up and was laughing, sharing stories and enjoying her grand and great-grandkids.  One last time, our Yellow Rose of Texas shined through.  But on Saturday evening, Marilyn entered the gates of heaven and was welcomed with open arms by her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  God clearly welcomed Marilyn and now has given her an eternal rest from the labors of not only her hands, but this world.  David completes his picture for us and we can take great comfort in this truth, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Today we gather here as the family of God celebrating the truth that this woman who loved sweet deserts at every meal, who had a strong sense of right and wrong and a lover of games and a loving mother to everyone.  Our “Yellow Rose of Texas”, Marilyn, now rests from the labors of her hands, not because of her work, but because of the grace and love of Jesus Christ for her demonstrated on the Cross of Calvary by Jesus Christ and which she was baptized into.  For clearly today, the path that has led us to this place has not been without tragedy, turmoil or tumult.  But God has fulfilled His promise and now fulfills in our sight and with our celebration the entrance of Marilyn into eternity.  She is not alone, she was welcomed by her parents, Alvin and Katie, embraced by her grandson Jarett, but is now reunited with her Saturday night dance partner Stan, ready to cut the rug, in a place better than the Crystal Chandelier. 

May this image given to us by David, and fulfilled by God, not only dance in our mind, but firmly cement the truth that God, Marilyn’s Good Shepherd, now holds her dearly and today, no longer encumbered by the inability to dance can with her beloved Stan, Jarett and all of the rest look down upon us.  And may this image be the reminder, not of loss, but of love found in what her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ fulfilled on the Cross of Calvary that finds its fulfillment as she now dances in heaven not only to the music of Lawrence Welk, but the angels singing the praise of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  For now and for all eternity she will be surrounded by the choir of angels and embraced by Jarett, reunited with Stan and gathered together for the greatest feast and party put on by her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

Now may the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding comfort us today as we celebrate Marilyn’s entrance into the party that knows no end with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  AMEN.

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