Thursday, January 8, 2015

“Delighted IN the Presence of Jesus” (Psalm 1:1-2)

S-1463 3SIA/3B 12/16/2014 Hymns: (O) #457; (S) #533; (C) # 57 SFD

Texts: Isaiah 43:1-3; Revelation 21:1-7; John 14:1-7

Theme: “Delighted IN the Presence of Jesus” (Psalm 1:1-2)

Question: “Celebration of the New Life of Alvera Luella Cunningham

Christ is Risen! He is Risen, indeed! Alleluia! (3x). Beloved in the Lord, the text for the celebration of the New Life granted to our departed sister Alvera by her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is her confirmation text from (Psalm 1:1-2) “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

Beloved people of God, Psalm 1:2 speaks of the Christian’s delight. A “delight” is something that brings a great deal of satisfaction, gratification and pleasure. We are not to be a discouraged or defeated but rather a people who are delighted in the things of God. What you delight in tells everyone around you the condition of your heart. If it is the things of the world alone that bring you delight, then you’re focusing on earthly things. But if your delight is in the things of God then your heart is focusing on heavenly things and that offers peace and joy as we travel as pilgrims in this ball of mud we call earth. For we all know that this world can’t satisfy or meet our needs but only God can and does in His Son, Jesus Christ.

In the cycle of life a child looks with great joy and anticipation to open the packages that sit beneath the Christmas tree. In a few days we will see many children who are delighted as they get their hands on the gifts. They care nothing about the wrapping or the ribbon, they just tear into the gift. Likewise at the end of life, a person who is near death looks with the greatest joy and delight to be in the presence of Jesus Christ his/her Savior—the GIFT OF HEAVEN.

The truth is however that the only desire that matters or lasts is the desire to be connected to Jesus. That is the ultimate goal for every son of Adam and every daughter of Eve to be in the presence of Him who came in the flesh—the Babe of Bethlehem, Jesus Christ. To be sure, to be with Jesus is our eternal delight. To find delight in His presence is our eternal joy and our eternal rest. All because of the Greatest gift—the gift that keeps on giving—Jesus our Savior.

That is precisely what our departed sister is experiencing right now—she is delighted to be in the presence of her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. But the desire to be with Jesus started long before she was even aware of it; it started with Him. The desire began with the One who created her in her mother’s womb. He confirmed this desire on September 25, 1922 when He called her in the waters of Baptism to be His very own for time and eternity. He solidified it to her on December 12, 2014 when He said to her, “Come, My daughter and delight yourself in My presence for the rest of your life!”

This delight was whenever she came to the Lord’s house. Here the Lord delighted her by forgiving her, her sins. Here in this place He delighted to offer her a sumptuous Meal of love and peace in His body and His blood. Here in this place she was delighted as she was privileged to be nurtured at the hearing of His Word.

Yes, Alvera meditated at His Word. She longed to be with her Lord and Savior. Even though for the last 8 years she hasn’t been able to be here, or was not in the best of health, yet she longed to be in His presence and to receive the life-giving Sacrament. What joy filled her heart as she took His body and blood into her mouth with the greatest delight.

Today, she is in His presence forevermore and that delight continues. She is indeed delighted to be in the presence of the One who came from heaven to earth so that He may die for her and all people who have been cursed by sin.

As we mourn our own loss, we rejoice that this Christmas our dear sister will be joining her voice with those she has loved who have gone before her, and with the angels and arch-angels and all of the heavenly host as they sing what the herald angel sang along with all voices then, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!" (Luke 2:14 ESV)

Yes, we spoke of her delight, her great delight in being in this house, with all of you, of praying for you, her family as you may have been scattered. Here and in her home, and finally, in her bed, where confusion reigned, she still delighted in that grandest news that Alvera was the daughter of the Most High God and that not only does He have her, but He has you, in those nail pierced hands that began as the stubby little digits of an infant.

As you go forth from this, the Lord’s House, the place where He gave birth to your beloved mother, where He washed her in the renewing flood of her Baptismal Grace as her sins were forgiven, where He fed and nourished her with nothing less than all that He is and all that He has, His very own Body and Blood, go forth, beloved, knowing that the good gift He has given in these walls and at her bedside, this Feast and this Forgiveness, this Love and this Peace has now gone from being a promise, to being sight!

The same Lord that brought so much delight to your dear Alvera also desires to delight in you. The call that came to her comes to you as well. He desires to forgive the crushing burden of your sin. It is His delight to bring you into His house and feed you with the very same heavenly manna with which He was delighted to feed Alvera. Even amidst the tears of this day, it is His delight to call you to look beyond this life to an eternity that He is calling you to spend with Him! He is calling you to delight in Him and His Word this day! This call is the only true answer to the grief that you feel. He gives it to you freely! It is His true delight this day!

Yes, and as we gather again in just eight days to sing the carols of His birth and as the Advent Wreath puts forth the full light of the Promise Kept, we will gather knowing that your beloved mother, that our dear sister delights, fully delights with you, for the God who loved her in this life, loves her still, and the God who loves you now, He is faithful and He shall surely keep you… in His perfect peace for: CHRIST IS RISEN! He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia and Amen!

Now the peace of God…


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