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Bernard Kuhns Funeral

December 12, 2012

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Wednesday of Advent Two                           Trinity Lutheran Church

12 December 2012                                      Murdock, NE


+Jesu Juva +


Funeral:  Bernard Kuhns

John 11:21-27


Well, let’s get right to it today.  Let’s not mess around.  To the heart of the matter at hand!


I’m here to make a confession.  As a pastor I covet. 


Does that surprise you?  It shouldn’t.  But wait!  You’d better hear what it is that I covet! 


I covet to hear a word from people.  One little word!  That’s all!    Especially on Sundays when I preach the gospel, categorically declare to the congregation that their sins are forgiven for Jesus’ sake, lead them in prayer, and as I place the Lord’s Body and Blood into open mouths.  Do you know what word I covet to hear? 


Yes, that’s right:  “Amen.”  Amen means “truth.” 


I can’t tell how good it is to hear an “Amen.”  After all that’s what the Lord wants to hear too!  Since I work for the crucified but risen Lord I want to hear it as well! 


And so on the afternoon of Monday, November 26 I had a heart-to heart with Bernard.  All by his lonesome!  Earlyne was out gallivanting around town.  It was a challenging and yet delightful conversation.  He sat in the chair by the front door and I sat on the couch. 


The time had come.  Couldn’t put it off any more.  This was no time for spiritual teetotalling!  Life was quickly and suddenly coming to an end for Bernard!  Nothing more could be done! 


So, with a wink in my eye I gave Bernard a full blast 100 proof swig of the one and only Higher Power named Jesus who promised numerous times that He would suffer, die, and then on the third day rise from the grave.  Lo and behold He did it!  He pulled it off!  Did what He promised.  And then I told Bernard that Jesus did all this for him!


I prayed for Bernard and then blessed him.  And that’s when he astounded me.  He, of all people, gave me the word I so covet as a pastor!  He gave his “Amen” to the prayer, the Lord’s Prayer and the blessing!  He even gave me permission to come back. 


I serendipitously saw Earlyne downtown where she was gallivanting.  I honked, pulled over and told her what Bernard said, especially the “Amens.”  “That’s the first time he’s ever done that,” she informed me!


And the “Amens” and the “thank you’s” continued each day as I gave this man, who turned mustard yellow, full blast 100 proof shots of the forgiveness of sins achieved and won for all and for him by Higher Power Good Friday and Easter Morning Jesus! What joy to hear his “Amen’s”!  Right Earlyne? 


That’s what Jesus is after in the text!  From all those gathered to mourn the death of good friend Lazarus.  Jesus tells Martha that, “Lazarus will rise again.”  To which Martha responds with her famous:  “I know he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 


But that’s when Jesus really gets personal and antes up his preaching!  200 proof!  No one had ever preached a sermon like this!  But Higher Power Jesus did!  Listen to it again.  “I Am the resurrection and the life.”   


Not just Higher Power!  But Resurrection and Life Higher Power!  That’s who Jesus is!  Standing right there before Martha’s eyes!  In the very flesh of the preacher named Jesus, the Most High God announces that the incredible power of resurrection and eternal life has arrived!  In the present!  In the world!  In our time!  And in your life too! 


“I am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus declares.  And from that truth come divine promises.  Listen:  “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”  


This is so amazing that you’ve got to hear it again!  Talk about a 200 proof drink being served up by the Lord! “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”  


This promise is not just for Martha.  Jesus is also speaking to you!  Dare I say it?  Yes I will.  He wants Martha and all of you to give your “Amen” to His promise!  “Do you believe this?” He asks her and you! 


Martha declares:  “Yes, Lord!”  Did you hear that?  Outstanding!  “Yes, Lord,” she told Him.  “I believe that you are the Christ the Son of God who was to come into the world.”   What joy!      


And so like on that Nov. 26th afternoon at Bernard’s house, today I audaciously dare to give you the 200 proof elixir of eternal life and salvation.  Today is not the day for spiritual abstinence!  Neither is tomorrow!  Or any day for that matter!  As one who works for the Lord Jesus I, “urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain . . . Now is the time of God’s favor.  Now is the day of salvation,” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)!


I’m still in the coveting mood.  You know, for that one little word!   


After all, who knows when death will come knocking on your door?  So, drink up everyone!  Deeply imbibe the words and promises of Jesus who emphatically declares to you today: “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.”  




In the holy Name of Jesus.

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