Funeral Sermon for Hilda Klein
Title: At home with Jesus forever!
Text: John 14:3 (English Standard Version)
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
Dear friends, family and loved ones of our beloved Hilda.
I’m Pastor Russ Tkac, Pastor of Peace and I've been blessed to know Hilda for going on 16 years and to celebrate her life with you her dear family and friends.
The back corner of the church will never quite be the same. It was where Hilda sat – at time by herself and many times with her family. It is where she got up to go sing with the choir - when we had a choir and when she was able. It is where her walker rested when she sat in the pew when walking became difficult, and it is where the wheelchair was placed when it became her more of transportation.
I would go and visit her at Autumn Ridge – her home away from home -asking how she was doing … she would always say in mock consternation: “They’re always pushing me around!” Referring to her chair and the way she needed to go. A slight smile coming across her face – like it was the first time she thought it or said it. As I would wheel her to her room or to a guest room to talk, she might exclaim, “See, you’re pushing me around too!”
Hilda was a fixture in my life here at church in many ways. Not only as pastor but for many years as a member here, singing in the choir or leading bible study that she always attended when able, or singing at her beloved home where the Christmas Caroling was made that much better because Hilda joined in to sing with us and we received some of her famous cookies.
In the Gospel text for today we read: (Jesus says)
1 "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:1-3)
So though we grieve and are sad at Hilda’s passing we can have comfort as well. Jesus tells us that He has a place for us, and that included Hilda Klein, and it has been prepared for her and because of Hilda’s faith and trust in Jesus … she has now taken possession of it.
If you knew Hilda … then you knew Jesus. She trusted Christ, desired to be in church where Jesus promised to be and desired to receive the gifts Christ gives. She supported the work of the church with her time, talent and treasure and that included those near to her and those around her and as the church I was privileged to bring Jesus to Hilda when she could no longer get to Peace for regular worship. She told me also that his greatest hope was that all of you, her children, grandchildren, and dear friends would know and trust Jesus too.
Hilda’s trust was in Christ. Though at times during these last few years I know she questioned him. Why wasn’t Jesus leaving her in her home? The confusion of being unable to take care of her own needs and not being able to get to church every week were a few things that troubled her. Where was she going she wondered and why?
In Johns gospel:
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" 6Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:5-6)
Hilda knew the way. I visited with her at the hospital after the stroke and at at Autumn Ridge during her hospice stay on many occasions she would say, “I want to go home.” We all will probably fight that same fight when we get close to our time of departure for heaven too.
Hilda’s hope was in the blessed hope of his Lord and savior Jesus Christ and the home she knew was waiting her in heaven. She was looking to be with Christ and today heaven is her home and her walker and wheelchair are here because in heaven Hilda won’t need them. She has been redeemed and in baptism her sins were washed away … and Christ promises to make all things new.
She knew her sins were forgiven too on account of Jesus’ death on the cross. She knew that because Jesus rose from the dead, she would too. She knew Heaven was her home and that Jesus had prepared a place for her, so that even with the veil of death lurking at the door and waiting to cover her, She had the blessed hope of reunion forever with Jesus and with all dearly departed who have gone to their eternal rest in the Lord before her.
Jim texted me that Hilda wasn’t doing well on Wednesday evening and I replied that I would go in the morning for a visit. When I got there at 10:45 on Thursday Hilda was laboring. I read her the 23rd Psalm and then these passages:
Psalm 4:8 (ESV)
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 27:1 (ESV)
27 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 31:5 (ESV)
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
Psalm 73:26 (ESV)
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
I prayed and concluded with the Lord’s Prayer and said,
“Hilda it is okay to go and be with Jesus. We who remain behind will be alright. When he calls … go, rest in his arms.”
I got a text from Jim at 11:50 as I pulled into the church. It read:
“Marie got a call from Autumn Ridge. Mom passed away.”
Heaven is now mom’s home.
You too have this home waiting for you. The blessed Good News that Jesus died for your sins is the wonderful Gospel message you can trust. Jesus has forgiven your sin and by the power of the Holy Spirit, in you, has given you the faith to believe in His saving work and a place prepared for you, forgiven in Christ and forever with our Lord and savior Jesus, and that’s a Heaven and an eternity you can trust.
As we grieve today we remember …
Hilda loved home. When she when anywhere she always came home. And this time Christ Jesus called her to her heavenly home to be where he is.
Sin, the corruption of this world and the work of the Devil were going to do everything possible to make sure that we who remain saw that death was not peaceful, restful or kind. It is the consequence of the fall of Adam and Eve into sin … the fall and sin we share.
But, you too can know that the path and rescue that our Lord and savior Jesus followed, to the cross for you, was not peaceful, restful or kind either. It was a death that shook the very foundation of this world as Satan fought in every way to keep Christ Jesus from standing in Hilda’s place and your place too.
It was Hilda, you and me that the Devil wanted to see on that cross because it would have accomplished nothing … but death … in a most horrible way. Sin would not have been paid for and you would have been destined to spend an eternity separated from God … a true meaning of Hell … forever.
But Martin Luther reminds us:
“The Christian life does not consist of being but becoming, not of victory but of fight, not of righteousness but of justification, not of comprehending but of stretching forward, not of purity but of [being purified] purification.” – Luther WA 57
The death of sin - brings perfection in Christ.
In First Corinthians St. Paul writes:
54When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
"Death is swallowed up in victory."
55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Cor. 15:54-58)
Hilda received that victory in baptism marked as one redeemed by Christ the crucified and now has the fullness of that reality.
She was prepared, she was forgiven, and she will be … at home with Jesus forever because Christ has promised:
3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
Praise be to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has prepared a place not only for Hilda … but for you and me as well.
Your sins have been forgiven on account of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and you who trust in Christ, will be forever in the presence of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ forever as well.
May the Lord comfort you with this blessed good news now and forever!