[Texts: Job 19:23-27 / Romans 8:31-37 / John 14:1-6]
“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:5 Karla you brought me that verse with the recognition that you and Terry had received from your parents and have striven to pass on to your children and grandchildren “a godly heritage” – a heritage that celebrates the faithfulness of the Lord God from one generation to the next.
Doris was not born into the Church. That’s a good reminder to all of us that none of us are or can be. Every last one of us must be reborn into the family of God through faith and the gift of Holy Baptism. Such a gift Doris rejoiced in on the 14th of June in 1940. Baptized into the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, she was a marked woman. She belonged to the Triune God.
She embraced her faith with zeal, and you know how much her relationship to her Church meant to her. But it is good to remember why it meant so much.
Was it just the company of the family and friends who gathered here with her every week? No. It was deeper. Family and friends worshipping together is icing on the cake, but the cake is what really matters. And what she had found in her faith was this, that she, a lost and condemned person on her own, a sinner who deserved (as she confessed countless times) both temporal and eternal punishment, that such as she had been loved by God.
The God who named her as His own sheep was her joy and her delight. She listened attentively to His word. You know that whenever you mother and father could be here, they never missed a chance to hear the Word or to receive Christ’s body and blood in the Holy Eucharist. Your mother listened. And even as her memories began to fade and her confusion mounted (John, I can just hear her telling you: “Well, you may be in Florida but I’m in Illinois.”), even as she became fuzzy on so many things, her love for her Lord and for her Church remained clear to her. And that is a special grace of God.
It was not, of course, your mother’s hold on Jesus that ultimately counted, but His hold on her. And that is what strengthened her through all the ups and downs of her life.
Like old Job, in our first reading, she could say: “I know that my Redeemer lives and that at the last He will stand upon the earth and after my body has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see with my own eyes and no other. How my heart yearns within me!”
She knew like Paul in our second reading that there was absolutely nothing in this world that would ever be able to separate her from the love that God had given her in her Jesus. In Him she found forgiveness for all sin, joy in all sadness, hope in the face of despair and most of all in Him was life in death. To belong to Jesus, as she knew she did, was to live already now the certainty of a life that death had no power to destroy.
She knew also and clung to our Lord’s rich promise in today’s Gospel, that her Lord Jesus by His suffering upon Calvary’s cross, bearing the load of her sin and the sin of the whole world, and by His descent to hell and His resurrection from the dead and ascension to the Father, had gone ahead to prepare for her and for all baptized believers the home that can never be lost.
Homes in this world are very precious, but they are always vanishing. What was home to Doris? Hamel? Her life before in Worden? I think of those rather as places where she pitched her tent for a while, for she was a great traveler. But her home, it was where she was headed. Home would be where Jesus is, where the Father is, where the Holy Spirit is, where the angels join in singing the unending hymns of praise, and the saints fall down in worship before the One who loved them so much as to take on flesh and blood for their sakes from the womb of the holy Virgin and in that flesh and blood to trounce on death, sin and the devil, and fling wide the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
Your mother looked for that home, and she longed for it. Came that special moment on the fifth of July when her eyes closed to this world, but opened to that. And she saw her Jesus and her joy overflowed.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she was glad to see your father too, and all who are part of the family of God, but if she said anything to Lester I’ll bet it was: “Would you look there, honey! There He is! Glory, glory to Him!”
The saints rejoicing in heaven do not focus on each other, but on that Redeemer, whose love was so strong that not even death could take them away from him.
Does it mean she no longer thinks of you? Perish the thought. In heaven, love is not diminished, but grows ever stronger. I believe that she’s been praying for you, for all you whom she loved, and her prayer is simply that God would bring you to share in the joy that is now hers forever; that the gifts of God, so faithfully handed on from generation to generation, may not fail, but may accomplish their purpose also in your case. Her prayer for you is that the day may come when you will slip in there next to her and take her hand and listen to her say: “Isn’t He a glorious Savior! Didn’t I always tell you so! Look at what He has done for us! For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations!”
Doris L. Meyer, 87, of Indian Harbour Beach, FL, formerly of Hamel, IL, died Thursday, July 5, 2007, surrounded by her family. She was born August 6, l9l9, in Worden, Illinois, the daughter of William and Alta Hagemeier. She married Lester G. Meyer July 15, 1940, and celebrated 65 years of marriage before his death, November 15, 2005. She lived most of her life in Hamel, Illinois, where she was a member of Saint Paul Lutheran Church. She enjoyed quilting, needle work, baking and cooking. She travelled extensively with her husband throughout the United States and Europe. Mrs. Meyer moved to Indian Harbour Beach, FL, approximately two years ago and was welcomed by the Faith Viera Lutheran Church and community. She was an active member at Joes Club in Melbourne. Survivors include son, Terry L. Meyer of Menifee, CA and wife Sharon; daughter, Karla J. Caban of Indian Harbour Beach, FL and husband John; five grandchildren, Kathlene M. Willock of Long Beach, CA, Matthew J. Meyer of Las Vegas, NV, John B. Caban of Melbourne, FL, Sascha C. Thein of West Melbourne, FL, Brett B. Caban of St. Louis, MO; and two great-grandchildren, McKenna and John Meyer Caban of Melbourne, FL. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, half brother, Walter L. Tweed, and half sister, Audrey Thompson.