Funeral Service for Lillian Graf
August 15, 2018
John 10:11-16; 1 Corinthians 15:35-57; Job 19:21-27
Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Lord has written in Job 10:11, “I AM the Shepherd, the Good One. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” Thus far the text.
Let us pray: Creator Father, You sent the Good Shepherd for us, for Lillian, and He gives us His life. Grant us to remain within Your flock both now and forevermore; in the name of Jesus. Amen.
We began with a Christmas hymn. We will conclude with an Easter hymn. The birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ, THE Shepherd, THE God Shepherd of our body and souls. Think of all the pastors who have served you over the years. You probably have a favorite or two that stand out. Yet, Jesus is not being compared to those good pastors as if He is similar but a little better than that. Rather, Jesus is THE God Shepherd. And thanks be to God for Jesus has Shepherded Lillian from birth and continues to Shepherd her to the day He bodily resurrects Lillian from the grave and forevermore.
Jesus shepherded Lillian’s birth on January 18, 1921. Her parents rejoiced.
Jesus shepherded Lillian’s new birth in Holy Baptism on New Years’ Day 1922. The angels rejoiced.
Jesus shepherded Lillian through her early Christian formation culminating in her confirmation in the Christian faith on June 9, 1935. The church rejoiced.
Jesus shepherded Lillian in Holy Marriage to Henry on February 2, 1940, and continued to bless Lillian with Betty and Judy and Henry and Doug throughout the years. Her family rejoiced.
Why so much rejoicing? Because The Shepherd Jesus Christ did something for Lillian that no pastor could do for her, or her husband or her children could do for her. In fact, Jesus did something for Lillian that no one could except for a gracious and merciful God. Jesus died for Lillian.
There is an old saying that fits here.
Dying is no child’s play. It is the good work of God in Jesus Christ.
Jesus prepared Lillian for 96 years to face her 97th year.
Lillian knows better than us that dying is no child’s play.
One day, I stopped by and Lillian was playing cards with her family. I offered to stop back and that was ok.
Another visit, she was tired but determined to renew her strength. Jesus communion fed Lillian his body and blood.
Another visit, she couldn’t hear very well. Jesus forgave Lillian all her sins. That day, I spoke loud and low the confession and absolution and she could hear me just fine. So could her neighbors at the end of the hall.
Another visit, she was very tired. I offered to stop back the next day. She said no. Who knows what problems I’ll have tomorrow. Jesus prayed for her.
Another visit, she was sleeping in her chair. I sat on the bed praying for her when she woke up. She told me which chair to sit in. Even where I should place the chair. Jesus forgave her sins, prayed for her, and communed her.
Another visit, she was sleeping in her bed. Jesus prayed for her and sang some hymns quietly to her. Dying is not child’s play, but thanks be to God that Lillian was shepherded by The Shepherd. The Good One.
And now Lillian has died to all dying. She has died to all sickness. She has died to all things that the Good Shepherd calls bad. All bad is gone.
Finally, Lillian is alive to all things good. She is more fully alive than she has ever experienced before and, with all the saints, joyfully waits for the restored heaven and earth and the resurrection of her body. This one right here. The Good Shepherd, the God Pastor, will do it; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.