The following sermon is thanks to Tom Miller and Lection List for encouraging the exchange of funeral sermon ideas during the week of August 17-23 1997. Tom is pastor of St. Mark's Lutheran, (ELCA), Bloomfield NE and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 16:20:47 -0600
From: email@example.com (Tom Miller Family)
Subject: Funeral Sermon on Thanksgiving weekend
I Corinthians 15:51-57
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ. Amen.
We have just come off of Thanksgiving weekend. In fact, Christine died on
Thanksgiving Day. I'm sure your Thanksgiving weekend was shadowed by her
death. And I would wonder if the thought didn't pass your mind, "How can
we give thanks this year?" I'd like to suggest several reasons for giving
First of all, we can give thanks for Christine's life. She was loved as a
mother, a grandmother, great-grandmother, a sister, and as a friend. She
is remembered as a "wonderful woman" who enjoyed those around her. Her
respect among her peers was attested to last evening as many came here to
be with the family and shared wonderful and precious memories of her life
on this earth. And, I must say, her family is very thankful for each of
you who have come and shared memories and there-by brought comfort and
Therefore, we give thanks for Christine's life. You see, I believe life is
a gift from God. God has made us and given us life. God has blessed our
life and made it full of experiences, people, and events. God blesses us
with each day. Christine was a person given to us by God. God has given
us the privilege of knowing and loving Christine, and walking along the
path of life with her. In knowing her we have, hopefully, become better
people. We have cataloged memories and experiences. These are gifts from
God. For this we are thankful.
We can also be thankful today for the promises of God. Not only has God
blessed us with life and with sustaining love in this life, God has also
blessed us with eternal promises in Jesus Christ.
As I read through the Bible, I find so many images of God's love. Each
writer of scripture uses images from his or her own life to celebrate God's
enduring love. Images that range from that of a shepherd keeping the sheep
to a vision of streets paved with gold and a city of beauty beyond our
human imagining. Each writer, from their own perspective, sees the enduing
love of God, not only in this life, but in the life to come as well. Each
writer gives witness to the faith statement that death is not the end of
life, but the beginning of life in a richer and fuller sense.
Isaiah is a case in point. Isaiah sees God preparing a family reunion in
eternity. A gathering of God's family in heaven around a banquet that puts
to shame the thanksgiving family reunions we share on this earth. God
gathering his people from far and wide to the table of the finest of
blessings. Gathering the family where there are no tears, no suffering, no
pain, no sadness. At this table of God there is a joyous celebration of
eternal life. It is a victory party for which we can give thanks, even in
the face of death and separation.
St. Paul sees the image of a battle in which life wins. Of course death
comes to us. Death is a part of our lives, our living. But Paul witnesses
that death's power is only temporary. Ultimately, God's life has the last
word. When it is all said and done, death is defeated, and though all die,
God wins the victory through the Death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
For this victory, we can be thankful.
And the wisdom of the Old Testament tells us that in our live journey there
are times for all kinds of experiences. And yet even in these there are
the times of healing, comfort and rejoicing. For this perspective also, we
can be thankful.
Now, these affirmations come from faith. They come from the understanding
that Jesus Christ, God's own son, came to this earth, suffered Death and
rose from the grave so that his people could be assured of the victory over
death for ever.
So, we give thanks to God that the victory over death has been won by Jesus
We give thanks to God for the witness of the scriptures which give images
which sustain us in our sorrow, and give us a perspective on death, which
is eternally overcome by life.
And, we give thanks to God for Christine, and her life among us. Thanks
for all she was for us, and all she shared with us.
May the hope and promise of Jesus Christ bless and keep you in these days
and sustain your life under the assurance of God's eternal love and