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Lorna Stroy Funeral

December 16, 2014

i-am-the-resurrection-and-the-life-2

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Tuesday of Advent 3                                                                    Trinity Lutheran Church

16 December 2014                                                                        Murdock, NE

 

+Jesu Juva +

 

Psalm 23:1, 4, 6

Funeral of Lorna Stroy

 

The Old Testament reading put it this way: “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Indeed. That was Lorna. Much of what Proverbs 31 said about the wife of a noble character Lorna exhibited. With such a busy, hardworking and take charge Proverbs 31 woman like Lorna, it was tempting to forget who was really at work behind the scenes. But now we have time to reflect and rejoice that all her life and even now as we prepare to bury her body in the ground that the Lord Jesus was her Shepherd! He was doing all the caring. All the shepherding. For Lorna’s good. Even her eternal good.

 

“The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want,” that is to say, “I lack nothing.” Lorna would recite Psalm 23 with me many times when I went to visit her. She had it memorized. The promises of this psalm were her confidence. Complete and total confidence in Good Shepherd Jesus who found her and made her His own. Who died for her on the cross and answered for all her sin. When it came to salvation Lorna believe only in that Good Shepherd Jesus. She was content to be a sheep and let Jesus be the Savior Shepherd. “The Lord is my shepherd.” Indeed.

 

Psalm 23 recites what Good Shepherd Jesus does for His sheep like Lorna. Let’s take a look at a couple of the verses.

 

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

 

This verse is not a denial of death. Good grief! Christians like Lorna know that death is for real, that it lurks, prowls, and is an extremely bitter enemy. But Lorna believed that death is a defeated enemy! After all, Good Shepherd Jesus went through death’s gloomy and cold valley and three days later emerged victorious! Risen! Bodily! He alone knows the way through this dark and dangerous vale called death. He’s the only One that can lead people through it safely.

 

I repeatedly told Lorna that Jesus laid down His life for her, died and rose from the grave for her. Because He did that, her sins are forgiven and that she was safe even from death. After all, Jesus’ Good Friday death defeated death. Jesus Easter Sunday life is now her life – her eternal life.

 

Since Jesus rose from the dead like He promised, even though Lorna walked through the valley of the shadow of death she had nothing to fear because the crucified and risen Jesus was with her providing her with all that He is and everything that He has.

 

She had nothing to fear as the Lord Jesus was with her and FOR HER with all the benefits of His dying and rising in her baptism, in the promise of the gospel, and in the bread and wine with His body and blood in the Lord’s Supper. She believed this totally. And it’s one of the reasons she requested the Lord’s Supper from me so often in the nursing home. She didn’t have better words than the Lord’s “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins” promise. We sure could learn from her example of faith. After all, the woman of a noble character – the woman who fears the Lord like Lorna will receive what Jesus gives with HIS WORDS.

 

Christians do not fear death. Lorna didn’t. She was ready for it. Why? Because death is defeated and has lost all its power. Death and the grave have been swallowed up the victory of Jesus’ resurrection. That’s why all Christians, just like Lorna, can get in death’s face and mock death and the grave with all the boldness, confidence and swagger of St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

 

And death has no answer. Because Jesus put death to death in His Good Friday divine dying. Because Jesus broke death’s jaw wide open when He rose from the dead. Death does not win. Death can do no harm. Not even to Lorna. For on the Last Day, Good Shepherd Resurrection and the Life Jesus will raise Lorna’s body from the grave and give her a resurrected body like His – never to die again. Perfect.

 

Because of the Lord’s good shepherding — because His divine merciful “goodness and love” followed Lorna “all the days of” her “life,” she now “dwells in the house of the Lord forever.”

 

Did you catch that? Where does Lorna dwell? “In the house of the Lord.” That means that Lorna is where she’s always been: with the Lord or the Lord with her. “In Christ” is how the New Testament puts it.

 

Death is no obstacle for Jesus. He still communes and fellowships with His sheep. He has Lorna safely in His house. Good Shepherd Jesus promised it this way in John 14. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; … I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

 

Jesus has done just that. Lorna has been given the keys to her room in the Father’s heavenly mansion. Checked in. Probably with a pinochle deck in her hands. Elbert waiting for her to deal. And Dorothy and Kenny Roeber ready for another game.

 

For a while it’s without her body. But all that will change too, in the twinkling of an eye when Jesus reveals Himself in glory on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead. As I said earlier on that day He will raise the dead bodily. Including Lorna’s body.

 

Again, death doesn’t win. Death doesn’t have the last word. Good Shepherd Jesus does. We heard it earlier. Hear it one more time. This is what Jesus audaciously promised at the grave of his four-day old dead friend Lazarus. “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me will life, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

 

No better words that those!

 

In the Name of Jesus.

 

 

 

 

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