Thursday, May 14, 2015

Funeral Sermon for Ludie Wadleigh

Ludie Wadleigh - Luke 24:44-53 - May 14th, 2015

Christ is Risen (He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia) Amen.
Avis, Steve and Sharon, friends and family of Ludie, our dear brother in Christ, grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. I am not going to try to explain this morning what a blessing Ludie was to you or this community - you all know that far better than I do, anyway. You know that, and that is why we mourn. We here in this room have suffered a loss. This is a day we'd rather not have had been today. And yet, as St. Paul reminds us, we do not mourn as those without hope, as St. Peter reminds us we are gathered here today in a living hope, a living hope which we have through the resurrection from the dead of Christ Jesus our Lord and Ludie's Lord. And while we might have wanted this day to be later, it's fitting that it is today. Today is Ascension Day, 40 days after Easter - the day we hear in our Gospel text, where Christ ascended bodily to heaven. Listen again to what our Lord told His disciples and us just before He ascended.

"These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." When it comes to fulfilling the Law, to living perfectly, all of us in this room fall short. Paul says we fall short of the glory of God, and we are gathered here today because the wages of sin always lead to a day like this, a day like this for each of us. And then down to this world comes Christ Jesus, true God and true man - and in Him, everything in the Scriptures, every jot and tittle is fulfilled - fulfilled for you, fulfilled for Ludie. From all eternity, Christ Jesus saw His beloved Ludie, saw His baptized brother (just as He has seen you and I), and so knowing that Ludie would not be able to fulfill all things on His own, Christ Jesus was determined to come down and do all things for Ludie's sake, for your sake, to win Him and you life everlasting. You can open up to any part of the Gospels, and when you see Christ living, you see Him living for Ludie, fulfilling all righteousness for Ludie's sake - and for yours.

"Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead." Christ came to fulfill all things, all things for Ludie. I only knew a suffering Ludie - I never got to see the hale and chipper Ludie. Christ Jesus knew the sufferings Ludie would face, and so again, Christ Jesus came down and fulfilled all things. If His Ludie was going to suffer, then Christ Jesus Himself would suffer as well for Ludie's sake. If His Ludie was going to face death and die, then Christ Jesus Himself would suffer and die as well so that there would be no place, no thing in heaven or on earth that would separate Him from His Ludie. And Christ Jesus rises from the dead - and this is our hope, for because Christ Jesus has risen, so too will Ludie. The day is coming when there will be restoration, resurrection, new life given to Ludie, to us all - where all those baptized, where all believers in Christ will be gathered together in joy neverending.

And here is the wondrous thing this Ascension day. "While He blessed them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven." Christ Jesus is bodily in heaven, right now. Right now, this instant Ludie is with His Risen Lord and Savior -- in Acts we see the disciples staring into the sky after this, and the angels come and say, "Why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go." Right now, this moment, Ludie beholds what the disciples there longed to see. And when this Jesus comes back, when His Kingdom indeed comes and we are delivered from evil, Ludie will come back with Him, for He is at Christ's side, ever there to remain. Christ Jesus has won full remission of all of his sins, and all that remains now is the rest and peace of heaven until the Last Day comes when Ludie will stride out of this casket, when the words of Job will be true for Ludie and he and all the forgiven believers in Christ will behold our Lord and Savior face to face, with our own eyes.

And so my dear friends, you grieve, and you may continue to do so. That's life for us in this fallen world. But let your grief be tempered with the great and glorious truth that Christ Jesus has died and risen for the forgiveness of all of Ludie's sins, so now Ludie is there with the angels and archangels, He is part the company of heaven right now, redeemed and forgiven. And because Christ has fulfilled all things and risen, you will see Ludie again when Christ comes. All thanks be to God for the great and wondrous love He has shown to Ludie and to us in the redemption won by Christ Jesus and His glorious resurrection. Thus, with hope even on this day, we confess: "Christ is Risen (He is Risen indeed, Alleluia) Amen."

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