In Memoriam of + Ruby Manweiler +
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Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
February 9, 2017
Central Passage
2 Peter 1:16-21
Description

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

Dearly beloved, we have something more sure. We have the prophetic word, to which we do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place.

Death is a dark place. We can talk all we want about celebrating life and remembering the good we had, but for all our bravado and resolve, the tears still flow and sorrow still holds fast to our hearts. And we are in a dark place. We can talk all we want about our loved ones, our dear sister, being in a better place and all the reunions and fun that is going on for right now as she passes from this world to the next, but we the unspoken truth. That here she lies. And like us, she is waiting for that better place to be revealed to all the nations; to every tribe and nation of men.

We Christians shouldn’t be too enamored by this world’s attempts to find comfort in ourselves or in the lives of our loved ones, as if salvation from death is merely found in metaphor and hyperbole. We shouldn’t let the world’s sentimentality blind us to the truth that all men die and that such death is the wage of sin. We shouldn’t let our emotions rule the truth. But often we seek comfort not in the Comforter, the promised Spirit of God who brings to remembrance what the promises of our Lord, who is raised from His dark place, from His grave, but we seek comfort in pagan notions of Valhalla-like paradises and Disney-esk happily-ever-afters of endless fishing trips or heavenly kitchens. We talk about our loved ones as though they live on through our memories and in our love. But this is no real and lasting comfort for one day we too will die. Then where will our memories be? Where will our love be?

The only real comfort, the only lasting comfort is the comfort of the more sure prophetic word. The word of life and of resurrection; the word of the kingdom of God. This word is greater than our death and greater than our lives. It is greater than our love and greater than our memories. This word is light of the world and is the life of all men, and He has made His home with men that men may live with God.

The Lord promises to come again and wake those who are dead, who are asleep, and shine on them and on us as our Morning Star. He will dispel the dark places as a bright and shining light; the Light of lights shining with the brightness of the sun so that in those days there will be no need of sun or moon or stars, for the Lamb will be our light.

He is our light. He is the light of the world and the darkness shall not overcome Him.

We have something more sure. More sure than our loved ones good works, we have the good works of God who has defeated death and promises His life to all who believe and are baptized. We have something more sure than greatness of our faith, which was challenged and threatened and often waivers. Everyone’s faith is threatened but only the faith of One stands firm. Our Lord Jesus stood in the wilderness, hungry and tired, and the devil came and tempted Him. He tempted Him to disbelief. He was tempted as we are. Only He was without sin. He never disbelieved the promises of His Father. He never disbelieved that more sure prophetic word. He was faithful; even unto death on the cross. And for His obedience He was awarded not only the crown of life but the name that is above every name; the name to which every knee will bow and every tongue confess: Jesus is Lord. His faith is the definition of faithfulness so that even when we are faithless He remains faithful.

He remains faithful to His promises, which is to say, He remains faithful to you and to our beloved sister who received His promises through His blessed mysteries. She heard His words, “Take, eat; this is my body given for you. Take, drink; this cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” She heard His words that whoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood shall never die. He is faithful, for there is no death in Him and she is in Him as He is in the Father. He remains faithful to those words. He remains faithful to her.

He remains faithful to you. Your sins are forgiven. Your shame is covered. Your mortality is swallowed up by His immortality. Your grave is opened because His grave is open. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. For we were buried with Him through Holy Baptism into death in order that just as He is risen from the dead, so shall we walk in His life. He remains faithful to you as He has promised to raise you and all the dead from death and to give the crown of life to those who call upon His name.

We have something more sure. More sure than our hopes and well wishes. We have the promises of Almighty God, Lord of Armies, God of gods and Lord of lords. We have the promise of Him who shines in the darkness. We have seen His glory, glory as of the only begotten of God, full of grace and truth.

We have something more sure, the prophetic word to which we do well to listen. For the Lord Jesus is the Word. He is the Word made flesh and we listen to Him. And what does He say? Rise, and have no fear.

Have no fear little flock for is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Your Lord is not slow to fulfill His promises as some count slowness. But to Him a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. So wait upon the Lord. That is what faith is: waiting upon the Lord even as our Lord waited and even now waits upon the Father. Gather to your Lord and hear His word, His promises. Gather to your Lord and receive His body and blood for by these you participate in Him and His life is yours. Gather to Him and rejoice in His resurrection and ascension, for by it you have a home in the kingdom of heaven. Wait upon the Lord and He will renew your strength. You will rise up, as on eagle’s wings. You will run and not grow weary. You will walk through the valley of the shadow of death and not faint.

You have something more sure. You have the Lord and He is faithful.

+ In Nomine Iesu +