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Dorothy Mae Stander Funeral

July 11, 2012

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Wednesday of Pentecost 6                     Trinity Lutheran Church   

11 July 2012                                         Murdock, NE


Funeral of Dorothy Mae Stander


+ Jesu Juva +

1 Corinthians 15:51-57


Life sure changes!  In a hurry!  And quite mysteriously sometimes!  Take Dorothy Mae for instance.  One minute she’s living on the farm.  Busy cooking (usually eggplant), cleaning, sewing, gardening, mowing the lawn, talking on the phone, watching TV, reading the newspaper from cover to cover (especially the obituaries – to find out which shirt tail relation died – she was always informing me of that) and scolding brother Leland.  You know, keeping him out of trouble and out of the outhouse during hot summer days like this. 


Then all of a sudden on a rainy afternoon she slips, breaks her ankle, and then as fast as you can say “Bob’s your uncle,” she’s recovering in the nursing home and then living as a permanent resident in one of its apartments.  No more life on the farm and no more of taking care of Leland.  One day she celebrates her 80th birthday, and then a few days later she suffers a massive heart attack and she’s gone!  Just like that!  In a mere moment. 


Life sure changes!  But it doesn’t stop there!  “Listen,” the blessed apostle preaches.  “I tell you a mystery:  We will not all sleep but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.”


Did you catch that?  More change is coming for Dorothy Mae!  Death doesn’t have the final say!  The grave doesn’t have the last word!


Jesus does!  Yes, that’s right, Jesus!  Resurrection and the Life Jesus who definitively promises:  “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”  Then, of course, Jesus, in classic Savior of the world mode asks the biggest of all theological questions:  “Do you believe this?”  


Dorothy Mae certainly did!  She believed His promises!  Therefore, she trusted Jesus not only with her life but also with her death!  She trusted Good Friday and Easter Sunday Jesus with her salvation!  His Blood cleansed her from all sin!  Jesus rescued her from death, damnation and the devil!    


Salvation and eternal life are hers just as Jesus promised.  But not just for the future!  Salvation and eternal life is what she’s always had – IN JESUS!  In John 5:24 the Resurrection and the Life Jesus firmly promised:  “whoever hears my word and believes … has eternal life [and] HAS PASSED from death to life.”    


Such faith in Jesus bears much fruit!  Long haul benefits!  Leads to big time change!  Biggest life change!  Salvationly serious change!  Especially with the body! 


Jesus died not just to save our souls but also our bodies!  He created our bodies.  He redeemed and holied our bodies with His Blood and His Promise of salvation!  He put His name on Dorothy Mae’s body in Holy Baptism.  Marked her with His saving Name!  Buried her with Him into His Good Friday death on July 24, 1932.   He deposited His saving words of forgiveness in her ears!  He fed her body with His death defying, resurrected and ascended Body and Blood in the Sacrament!  Therefore, He will not abandon her body in the grave her at Trinity! 


That’s precisely why St. Paul declares:  “We will not all sleep in the grave forever!  Dorothy Mae’s burial today is only temporary!  For on the Last Day when Jesus appears in glory for everyone to see – when the archangel blows the trumpet for the last time in earth’s history, we, Dorothy Mae and all who believe in Resurrection and the Life Jesus, will be changed!  BODILY!!!!”


“Our bodies, proclaims the apostle, “will be raised from the dead – even if all that’s left of them are dust and crusty, dry bones!  We will be raised never to perish again!  Clothed with immortality!  On the Day of Resurrection Jesus, just like at His friend Lazarus’ grave, will shout:  ‘OK all you Christians!  OK Dorothy Mae!  All right, Selma, Charles, and Willard!  It’s time to wake up!  It’s resurrection day!’  That’s when the prophecy from Isaiah 25:8 comes to complete fulfillment:  ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory!’”    


Talk about change!  “We will all be changed!  In a flash!  As fast as you can get a twinkle in your eye!”  Boom!  Resurrection of the body!  At Jesus’ command!  In fulfillment of His promise!  The fruit of His dying and rising for Dorothy Mae and for you!   The “sting of sin – death” – NO MORE!  All because Jesus gives us the victory!  His victory over death and the grave is ours!  Yours!  Dorothy Mae’s! 


Now, in the full confidence of Jesus’ promise that He is the resurrection and the life – that death is a defeated enemy — and that we too will be raised on the Last Day, let’s go put Dorothy Mae to bed!  Tuck her in to her grave and then eagerly await when the resurrection of the body! 


Jesus has promised it!  He will keep His promise!


In the Name of Jesus.

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