Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Christian Funeral for Romane Lavern Krueger

John 14:1-6; 1 John 3:1-2; Lamentations 3:22-33

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Romane Lavern Krueger was born on June 21, 1934. He was baptized on July 15. He was confirmed on Palm Sunday of 1948. And, he was married to Helen Landsverk on January 18, 1953. So reads Romane’s obituary.
I love that! That tells me something about Romane: Romane’s life was marked by the LORD’s grace and by his own Spirit created and sustained faith. Romane’s life was marked by the LORD at its very beginning in Holy Baptism, was nourished, protected, and sustained throughout his life through the regular hearing of the LORD’s Word and reception of the blessed Sacrament, was blessed with love and joy in his union and sixty-seven years marriage to Helen, and now, at this very moment Romane’s life is marked with the promise and blessing of the resurrection of his body and reunification with his immortal soul unto life that cannot die. That’s the way it’s supposed to go, friends: A life begun, lived and sustained, and finished under the LORD’s grace, mercy, love, and compassion. The LORD was Romane’s portion, and his hope was in the LORD.
But, if you knew Romane, you didn’t need an obituary to tell you that, did you? Indeed, John confessed that, if you lived under Romane’s roof, going to church was not an option, it was expected. You didn’t ask if you were going to go to church. Moreover, Romane lived his faith; perhaps it would be better to say that Romane’s faith lived him. Romane was polite and respectful. He never spoke of anyone negatively, and he would gently correct those who did. In this respect Romane loved his neighbor, his fellow man, and treated him as our Lord would treat them, as a fellow child of God redeemed in the blood of Jesus. It’s really the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and also the Eighth Commandment, “Do not bear false witness against your neighbor,” which commands us to speak kindly of others and to always put the best construction on their words and deeds.
Romane was a good sportsman too. He was never condescending, but always found something good to say about everyone. That is, unless the Cubs are losing early in the game. Then Romane became the great Baseball Forecaster: “That’s it. The game’s over. Cub’s just lost.” It was only the first inning. Maybe that’s not unique to Romane, but that’s just being a Cub’s fan. Romane enjoyed sport of all kinds, particularly baseball (Cubs), football (Hawkeyes), and basketball (Hawkeyes). Romane showed his kindness and politeness whenever I’d visit to bring him communion. Knowing that I am a Yankees fan, he never said a bad word about the Yankees and, in fact, always found something good to say, even though he was a fan of the Cubs and anyone who was playing against the Yankees. Romane loved cribbage too, and he was a crack shot at pool. John recalled a time when he played pool with Dad. John racked and never got a chance to shoot as Romane ran the table multiple times in a row! Romane loved to play pool with John Behne, Duane Bahlmann, and Dick Dreesman, and others. Romane also enjoyed nature: Camping with the Behne’s and the Noel’s, fishing at Balsam Lake in Wisconsin, winters in New Braunfels, Texas. Suffice it to say, the LORD blessed Romane with the rich and wonderful gifts of family and friends, which Romane enjoyed and gave thanks for throughout his lifetime.
Undoubtedly Romane would count the greatest of his many blessings to be his bride and lifelong companion Helen. Romane loved to buy yellow roses for Helen, for the “Yellow Rose of Texas,” something they enjoyed together for so many of those years. One Christmas Helen did not get a yellow rose but a box of chocolate covered cherries instead. As Helen received the box with a hint of disappointment, Romane couldn’t manage to hide a little knowing smirk. There was a yellow rose inside the box of chocolates. Romane and Helen were blessed to celebrate sixty-seven years of marriage just a week before the LORD called him home.
As active, full, and rich as Romane had lived his life, one could easily imagine how he might have become depressed and despondent the past four years as he largely became confined to a recliner due to excruciating back pain, the result of osteoporosis. He was down, at times, to be sure; such is only natural, and human. And yet, Romane’s faith and good nature continued to ring through. He maintained that content and peaceable demeanor and hopeful disposition that, I believe, only people of faith can truly muster. The reading from Lamentations rings true once again: “‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’” “For the Lord will not cast off forever, but though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.” “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Romane was God’s child. In Holy Baptism, the LORD named and claimed Romane as His own child, as His very own son, and He made wonderful, gracious promises to Romane, promises that can never be broken: I will never leave you or forsake you. Nothing can separate you from my love. I am with you always, even to the end of the age. However, Romane didn’t become God’s child Saturday morning, but Romane became God’s child on July 15, 1934 when he was baptized, when God washed him clean in the blood of the Lamb, God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” In his life, Romane was God’s child now. Therefore, Romane’s heart was not troubled as he faced death, for he knew that he had a home, in a mansion!, in heaven prepared and waiting for him. “Let not your hearts be troubled,” Jesus said, “Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms.” “I go to prepare a place for you, and I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” Thank you, Jesus.
And, there’s a place for you there too, through faith in Jesus Christ, your savior and redeemer. You, too, are God’s children nowthrough Holy Baptism and through Holy Spirit created and sustained faith. And, what you will be has not yet appeared. You will be raised from death, glorified, reunited in body and soul that cannot die. For, the promise we have in Jesus is not a promise merely of spiritual life in heaven, but it is a promise of real, human, flesh and blood life in body and soul, just as God intended in the beginning, forever and ever in His presence. We will see Romane again, just as you knew him in life, but glorified, without pain, suffering, weakness, and without death. Our Lord Jesus has put it this way, “So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
In the + Name of Jesus. Amen.

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