Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Funeral Sermon for Glenn C. Blackerby June 20, 2017

Title: At home with Jesus forever!
Text: John 14:3 (English Standard Version)

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.

Dear friends, family and loved ones of our beloved Glenn.

I’m Pastor Russ Tkac of Peace Lutheran Church of Waterford and I have had the blessing of being Glenn’s pastor for the last 4-1/2 years though I’ve know him for many more years.

Glenn and Dorothy … were a lovely couple and demonstrated a faith lived out in love and service to others. I remember so fondly Dorothy exiting the service and shaking hands with a pleasant thought and Glenn, grabbing my hand and saying:

A mother goes into her son’s room to wake him for church Sunday morning. When she told him it was time to get up he said, “I’m not going!” Why not his mother asked? “I’ll give you two good reasons,” he said. “One they don’t like me and two I don’t like them” “Well,” … his mother replied. “I’ll give you two good reasons why you’re going.” One, you’re 47 years old and two, you’re the pastor!”

That was Glenn Blackerby! A man who loved life, Jesus, his wife Dorothy and jokes.

As the reading from Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us:

3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;

For Glenn that time to be born was January 14, 1930 and his time to depart this life for his eternal home was 87 years later on Monday June 12th.

Though we all hope to hold our dear loved ones close and save them from this fate … it is appointed for each one of us … and it is a goal we all will achieve.

But in the Gospel text for today 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 Glenn’s passing we can also have comfort as well. Jesus tells us that He has a place for us, and that included Glenn Blackerby, and it has been prepared for him and he has now taken possession of it.

Glenn knew Jesus and trusted Christ, and seeing Glenn and Dorothy in church over the years I got to know him and his faith in Christ. Of course I also got to hear his jokes – some tame, and some a bit rough, and some a bit long – especially when members of the church were trying to exit and he was holding up the line - but always jokes that if nothing else … made Glenn laugh.

I had a joyful time visiting with Glenn his home and over the last few years and in the hospital and bringing communion to him as it was difficult for Carol to get him to church on a regular basis. Carol would always tell me how they would stay up too late watching the old westerns on TV and sleep through the service time in the morning. I half expected one of his songs today to be the theme from Bonanza or Gun Smoke! But Glenn always really enjoyed receiving the Lord’s Supper at his home to strengthen his faith even though attending church was hard.

I visited Glenn and Carol monthly and we always had a nice visit. He would be sitting in his chair but was able to talk and communicate as he always did though a bit quieter and slower … Glenn confided to me that he missed Dorothy terribly, as we all do. He told me that he told the Lord that he was ready to go and be with him and Dorothy again. He so looked forward to going home and being with Dorothy and a heaven prepared for him.

We can all see the effects of time on our faces as we look into the mirror each morning and in my case an old man looks back where a young man once stood. It is the effect of sin and a broken world and as much as we might all hope to have the blessings of a long life like Glenn’s, the reality of death is real and sooner or later we will all answer the door when death knocks. But too, like Glenn, we can have comfort and peace because:

Death’s sting has been swallowed up in victory by Jesus Christ and we can all have comfort in His blessed work, and this blessed Good News.

As we together grieve the loss of our beloved Glenn and think about this frail existence we all inhabit here in this world, we can still have peace.

I rest beneath the Almighty's shade,
My griefs expire, my troubles cease;
Thou, Lord, on whom my soul is stayed,
Will keep me still in perfect peace.

Charles Wesley.

The Psalms can bring comfort at times like these.

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.

Comfort and peace, is what Glenn knew. That Christ had come to rescue him and you can know that as well. Comfort and peace, knows the joy of Christ Jesus in your life by God grace and mercy.

Comfort and peace, is being called to follow Christ by God’s Holy Spirit who indwells all believers and is called the comforter even by Jesus himself.

For Jesus Himself says that:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Dear friends, you too have access to the father as Glenn did through Christ Jesus our Lord who came to live, suffer, die and rise again for you and who will give to all true peace found only in His saving arms that were outstretched upon the cross as He gave up His life for you.

Because of Christ’s purifying death he allows you too, like Glenn, to depart in peace where all who trust in Christ will be with him forever!

So when the trials of life burden you and the storms of life rage and when even death is near, rest in the peace of Christ no matter the storms of life, but rests in the loving hands of Jesus the savior who reminds us in John’s gospel the wonderful comfort that Glenn knew:

7 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)

Glenn was prepared, he was forgiven, and he 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.

May the Lord comfort you with this blessed good news now and forever!


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