In Memoriam + Larry Manweiler
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
September 30, 2013
Central Passage
John 6:27-40
On the occasion of the funeral of Larry Manweiler

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Blessed, indeed, that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them! (Rev. 14:13)

The story of God and His people is a story of life and death. Beginning at the beginning God created man and he became a living being. But man refused the instruction of the Lord and by his disobedience, death entered creation. Life and death. That’s what it’s all about.

We want so desperately to live and for our loved ones to live. Yet death often brings a great release from intense suffering. So that when our loved one who suffers so dies, we find ourselves relieved. But it is death, so our relief feels almost like a betrayal. Of course we don’t want them to die. We love them. And death separates us from them. And unlike the separations we suffer before death – the separation of going off to college or leaving home to get married, or even our little one going off to summer camp – we can’t undo death. We can’t go pick up our loved one from the dorm room or the bus depot. We’re powerless in death.

We are powerless and so we mourn and give way to tears. Death is terrible. Even when it might be welcomed as a reprieve of great suffering, it is still terrible. Because while they live there is always hope of a cure, of prolonging life. While they live there is some hope – however dim – that we will see them again and touch them and hold them; that we will hear their voice.

But when death comes, hope dies with it. And the silence of the dead is deafening.

But in truth, hope is not dead. Hope lives. Hope lives because one who has died has come back from the dead. This one came to bring life and immortality to all mankind. He faced death head on, laying down His life and letting death have its way with Him. But when death had done all that it could do, when it had spent all its power and all its energy devouring this Son of Man, it found that rather than conquering life, the Life of the World conquered death so that truly it is said that death is swallowed up by life! And the proverb proves true that hope springs eternal.

For Jesus is the firstborn from among the dead, and death no longer has dominion over Him. He who was dead lives forevermore, brining life and immortality to all mankind.

And if that were all, that would be enough. But there is more. There is more because the mercies of God are new every morning and the cup of the blessed overflows.

Not only is the Son of Man risen from the dead, bringing life and immortality to all mankind, He does so by His own efforts and merits and not by ours. And that is grace.

In holy Baptism Larry was buried with Christ. He was united to the death of Christ as the apostle teaches us. He was crucified with Christ. So, too, was he raised with Christ in Baptism. No work of his; no effort of his; but the work and effort and promises of God in Christ who is risen from the dead. For those who are baptized into Christ have put on Christ, they are a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come. They have died to sin and live to God. Their life is hidden in Christ.

And He has come to do the will of His Father who sent Him. And this is the will of the Father: that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life. And He will raise them up on the last day. (John 6:40)

So the faithful, like our brother, Larry, and all the saints before him and those now, look upon the one whom we have pierced, believing on Him. We look upon Him in holy Baptism, dying His death to sin and being raised in His life. We look on Him when He gives to us His living body and blood to eat and to drink, satisfying our hunger for life and our thirst for peace with God.

And we fall asleep in Christ who is our life, laying down not in defeat but in rest. And we are called the blessed. For in sleep we rest from our labors and depend on the labors of Jesus. And His labors follow us into eternal life where death is no more.

Life and death, that’s what it’s all about. And life has won. Jesus lives.

+ In Nomine Iesu +