30 May 2017

Thoughts on a Funeral

Pr. Schultz's funeral was, as expected, a standing room only event. This man had touched so very many lives in so many different capacities. And, as Cindi said to me this morning, always with a smile on his face. I have no idea how many were there, but St. Paul's, Wood River, was bursting at the seams. We stood in the Narthex for the liturgy.

This funeral could not be accomplished without much singing. For All the Saints (as the family and then dozens of pastors processed in), I Know that My Redeemer Lives, God's Own Child, Lord, Let at Last (played expertly with major confession of the resurrection on stanza 3) and Abide with Me. There was another song I didn't know, and except for that one, the people even in the narthex were belting out the words. Joy and sorrow mingled, but joy definitely took and kept the lead throughout the service.

And how could it not? After all, Jesus had given to Martin a life that has no end! His sins forgiven in Baptism! The life of the Spirit of God, aglow with love and joy, was his in abundance in life and we know even more through death into the life that never ends. Resurrection is the final word. And that makes all the difference.

We joyed to hear God promise this in Isaiah 25 and Romans 8 and John 10. President Scharr read the first two, and Pr. George Gude the last. Vice-President Mueller preached a beautiful and comforting homily that wove the joy of those readings together around the joy that was so evident Martin's life and ministry. Pastor John Shank was the liturgist.

The prayer of the Church has become one the most comforting parts of the funeral liturgy to me: "...grant to Your whole Church, in heaven and on earth, Your light and Your peace!" Amen. Amen. Amen. The funeral service itself is the gift of that light and peace in no little part.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

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