Saturday, August 15, 2020

Christian Funeral for Darlys Elda Picht


John 14:1-6; Romans 8:31-39; Job 19:21-27


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

If you only knew Darlys from the past several years, like myself, then you didn’t know Darlys. You didn’t know the Darlys who loved camping and the outdoors. You didn’t know the Darlys who loved to play cards and cribbage. You didn’t know the Darlys who enjoyed the company of her friends in the Dorcas Society. You didn’t know the Darlys who was an active volunteer at St. John, who published the church newsletter and baked treats to thank the volunteers who helped assemble it. You didn’t know the Darlys who loved knitting and crocheting and giving gifts to her family and friends. You didn’t know the Darlys who loved a Chinese lunch with Mary and a taco salad with friends. You didn’t know the vibrant, joyful, caring, hardworking, kind, compassionate Darlys that touched so many hearts and lives. And, it’s a shame that we didn’t get that chance. We missed out. I missed out.

The Darlys I knew the past couple years was a shadow of the Darlys of years before. I knew Darlys as one of the sweet little ladies at Bartel’s who attended the Thursday Divine Service that I lead at least once a month. Darlys was wheeled in and sat in the back with her head down. She didn’t have much to say, but when I approached her with the Lord’s body and blood and asked her if she would like to receive communion she would answer softly, “Yes, please.” The Good Shepherd continued to care and to provide for His precious sheep.

But, many of you did know that Darlys from years before and remain blessed for it. Undoubtedly you were the recipient of her kindness and love, her baking, knitting, crocheting, and gifts. And, if you really knew Darlys, if you knew her past, her childhood, and the difficulties and challenges she faced even from early childhood, you’d appreciate the kind of person Darlys was all the more.

Darlys suffered the death of her father at age six, and then of her sister at age nine. She had a difficult childhood and struggled with some mild depression. Darlys suffered a heart attack when she was fifty-five, but she really began to think and talk about heaven when her husband Wayne died five years ago in 2015. Darlys was a faithful Christian woman. Though she wasn’t one to speak much about her faith, it was self-evident in her actions, through her kindness, charity, service, and love. The last few years took much of Darlys’ personality and expression from her as the Lord continued to preserve her life such that people are want to say her body outlived her mind.

Because of sin, suffering is a part of all of our lives, and all our lives end in death. But, for those who are baptized into the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in Him, that is not the end of our lives and our stories. Darlys has died, yet Darlys lives, and we will see her again. This is our great comfort and hope. Darlys’ confirmation verse was a favorite of many Christians, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” What that passage truly means is that God loved the world and everyone in it, and that He loved them in this way: He gave His only Son Jesus Christ over unto death on the cross so that the world should be saved through His shed blood.

Job, who suffered the loss of his livelihood, his children, and his own health and body continued to trust in the promise of the Lord’s Christ. Nearly two thousand years before the birth of Jesus, in the midst of his afflictions, Job confessed, “I know that my Redeemer lives,” “and after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” Likewise, St. Paul, who also suffered mightily and was finally martyred for His confession of Jesus, could state with all confidence and boldness, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And our Lord Jesus Himself, who suffered all for all, continues to proclaim to you, “Let not your hearts be troubled. 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 and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

The hope and confidence of Job, just as the hope and confidence of Paul, and also our hope and confidence today is in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, our Lord who shed His holy, innocent blood on the cross to redeem us from sin, death, and the devil. Darlys received this gift of unmerited grace personally when she was baptized so many years ago. Then she died with Jesus in the promise that she will also rise with Him when He returns on the Last Day. Then Job’s hope and confidence will be fully realized, “and after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” You see, we are comforted today with the very real comfort that Darlys is with Jesus. Yet that still is not the end of her story. We still look forward, along with Darlys and all those who have died in the Lord, to that yet more glorious day, the day of Jesus’ return and the resurrection of our bodies. For then, Darlys’ immortal soul will be reunited with her glorified and immortal body. That means that you will really and truly see her again. You will see her with your own flesh and blood eyes. You will hear her with your own flesh and blood ears. And you will hug her with your own flesh and blood arms. And that joy, no one will ever take from you. Let not your hearts be troubled.

In the + Name of Jesus. Amen.

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