S-1228 Epiphany/3A 01/06/10 Hymns (O) #193; (S) #201; #394; #123; #335; (C) #47
Text: Psalm 23; 121; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; John 14:1-21
Theme: “I’m in the RIGHT Place!” (Psalm 1:1-2, John 14:2)
CELEBRATION of the New Life for Herman Konard Fuerniss
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for this celebration is Herm’s confirmation text “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2) …“In 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?” (John 14:2). Please be seated.
Introduction: In Nomine IESU
You who are blessed by the Father of love, especially you Alice, Sherman, Perry, Cameron, Laurie, Garrett, Peggy, family and friends, we have gathered in the Lord’s house today to celebrate the New Life of our departed brother in the faith, and find comfort in His Word and promise—a promise that is anchored in the cross and the empty tomb.
Today, as you mourn the passing of your loved one—husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law, uncle, brother and friend, from this vale of tears to life eternal, take comfort in the One who has destroyed the sting of death, the grave and the power of sin—Jesus YOUR Savior.
Jesus was and still is the hallmark of this saint. Ever since I met him (about 9 years ago) when I became the vacancy Pastor of St. Paul, I was impressed with his love for the Word, the church, and family in that order. And when he became one of our saints here, I got to know him better. What impressed me about this brother were His devotion, trust and confidence in His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He loved His Lord and His Church; that is why when St. Paul Lutheran Church in the country closed it was hard on him. He wanted that Church to be used so that others might know of the love of the Savior that took Him to the cross.
Now, anyone who knew Herm would often hear him say, “It is not about me, but about the Lord.” And that is the truth. I am not here to eulogize this man or paint him in a bigger picture than he really is. But to share the truth of his trust in His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The text of his confirmation is a fitting tribute to him because it describes him to a tee.
Listen, again, please to his text. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night” Yes, Herm was blessed because for over 84 years, 6 months and 2 days that he walked the dusty roads of Choteau Creek he walked it hand in hand with His Lord and God.
How blessed was he? Blessed with a lovely wife who stood by him for over 55 years! Six wonderful children and their spouses, grandchildren and friends galore! He is blessed not because of the earthly treasures, (though they are many) but because His parents shared with him the heavenly blessings of knowing the Savior, and in his life he along with Alice passed it on to their children and others by word and example.
Yes, he WAS blessed and IS blessed. And, I, as a Pastor, was blessed to know him and be taught by him of the preciousness of the Word. I know of other Pastors who were drawn to him as well. Why blessed? Because his delight was in the Law of the Lord upon which he meditated daily. There has never been a time when Herm or I whether at the house or hospital that we didn’t share the Word. As late as 14 hours before he saw the Sonrise in heaven (as one of his daughters told me) we shared the Word together. The Word was his hope, his anchor and his joy. PAUSE.
The last few years haven’t been the most enjoyable to this man. Cancer had made his dwelling in his stomach and thus began the many trips to Sioux Falls, surgeries, Chemo and radiation treatments and long stays at hospitals. These were hard days, but he never gave up. He fought the good fight and he ran the race that was set before him as the Epistle for today reminds us. He kept the faith never wavering or wondering if God still loves him.
About 6 weeks ago, the word came back from the doctors that there is nothing that they could do. Your time on earth is running short, and the hour glass is running empty. Those were hard words to swallow, and yet he trusted in His Lord and God to see him through and so did the family. Brother Herm was brought home and I attempted to visit and commune him often. A week ago, today, was my last time to commune him and his family in his bedroom because he was so weak to sit in the chair. After receiving the Lord’s Supper, I asked the family if “I could have a moment of privacy with my parishioner?” The family kindly left me alone with Herm.
Sitting by the bed, I took his hand in mine, rubbed it for a while and prayed with him. I said I will come back to see you again unless the Lord calls you home then I will see you in heaven and his response was, “That will be ok Pastor!” After some moments of silence, I said to him, “Herm, what is the one thing that you want me to tell your family during the Celebration of the New Life?” He said, “Tell them I AM IN THE RIGHT PLACE!” Thus the title of this celebration. Herm is in the RIGHT PLACE.
Our loving and gracious Savior always puts us in the RIGHT place. Study the Scriptures and you will see that God’s place is the RIGHT PLACE. God placed Mary to be the mother of Jesus in the Right place. God chose Joseph to be the adopted father of Jesus in the Right place. When the babe of Bethlehem was born it was in the Right place. And when His parents took Him to the Temple to circumcise Him at 8 days old there was Simeon at the Right place.
With eyes of faith, Simeon saw more than the Christ Child he was holding. He saw the Christ Child holding him. That’s why he could speak so peacefully about death. His words “Lord, lettest now Thy servant depart in peace for mine eyes have see Your SALVATION…” don’t sound much like the abject fear the world connects with the monster it calls death. They sound more like the confession of a man who is ready for discharge from service on earth and who is eager for enlistment in heaven’s ranks. They come from someone who knows whose loving arms are wrapped around him and who trusts those powerful arms to hold him even into eternity.
Yes, Simeon, Anna, Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds and our beloved brother Herm were and are in the RIGHT PLACE. And oh, what a place it is. The Lord Himself spoke these comforting words in the Upper Room just as He was about to give His life on the cross for the sins of the world saying…“Let not YOUR hearts be troubled, you believe in God believe also in me. In 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? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will COME back again to take you to be with Me!” Indeed, that is what the Savior did for this saint who saw His Sonrise in heaven this past Sunday @ 6:10 a.m. Can you envision the look on Herm’s face when He awoke to see His Savior? Can you imagine the joy that filled his heart when he walked into heaven and saw the pierced hands of His Savior? Can you visualize him walking with all the strength as a young man not bothered by cancer, not needing any assistance and oh eating pecan pie? Can you picture him now made new by the blood of the Lamb who said, “Behold, I make all things new!!!”
Yes, my beloved and His beloved, Herm is in the right place—a place built with most the most expensive materials in the world, and by the Greatest Carpenter in the World—the Carpenter from Nazareth. This Carpenter didn’t use timber or nails, concrete or steel, or gold or silver; but His own precious flesh and blood, bones and muscles to guarantee Herm and all the world that the Right place for the believer is with Jesus.
What a joy to celebrate the New Life today of this beloved saint, who is now in the glory of heaven. What an honor to know that the Carpenter from Nazareth said to Herm last Thursday THIS IS NOW THE NEW RIGHT PLACE FOR YOU! In time and space Herm knew that church was the place to receive the abundant grace of God. From heaven, Herm witnesses to us yet on earth. His life is a legacy that this House of worship is the RIGHT place. For here in this place, the Word of the Lord is proclaimed, forgiveness is delivered, and the Sacrament is bestowed. This house is a major GRACE PLACE. Here you find comfort for life and confidence when death comes so that you can walk through the valley of the shadow knowing the risen Redeemer is intimately by your side. No wonder you found Herm sitting (point to his spot) right here hearing, singing and praising His Savior. OH WHAT A PLACE IT IS!
I would like you to remember as you depart from this place the good news of Jesus that held your husband, father, father-in-law in His pierced hands what the word “RIGHT” Stands for”
R – Rejoicing
I – In
G – God’s
H – Heavenly
T – Truth
CELEBRATE LIFE MY DEAR FAMILY OF FAITH BECAUSE HERM IS IN THE RIGHT PLACE. AMEN. CHRIST IS RISEN! (3X)
SOLI DEO GLORIA…