Saturday, January 30, 2016

Funeral Sermon for Janet Lochner

Janet Lochner – John 3:16 – January 30th, 2016

In the Name of Christ Jesus, the Light of the World +
Jack, Larry and Chrissy, and Kathy, Karen, Irene, Mary, Lori, Helene, Jay, Pat, and the rest of the many family and friends of our sister in Christ Janet, grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Love. In the weeks before she died, Janet and I talked often about what she wanted the theme of her funeral to be – and she was thinking and planning and flitting and fretting in her Janet way – wanting to make sure things were taken care of, to make sure that you folks here listening were taken care of, wanting to make sure I as the guy who had to preach the thing was taken care of. Because that's what Janet did. She loved. She took the love that she had received from her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and she in turn showed that love to the people that Jesus put into her life – whether that's the family she's known all her life, the husband God was good enough to provide her with, or even a Johnny-come lately into her life like me. People needed to be cared for and loved and blankety-blank, Janet was going to make sure that you got that love.

That's why we just heard John 3:16 – that's what she picked, that famous verse on Love. She wanted this time to be a bit of a focus, a talk on what love is – which is highly appropriate, because Janet got this, understood it – indeed, she understands it incredibly well right now. You see, today in America, we don't talk about love the way they did in the Bible, the word doesn't mean the same thing. We hear love, and we think first and foremost of feelings. That's not the main point in the Scriptures. Of course there's emotion, but the big thing with love in the Scriptures is that love is action. Love is a verb. Love means you aren't just going to sit around, you are going to get up and do something to show love, to help, to care for someone. And Janet knew that, and Janet demonstrated that. That's why we mourn today – because Janet was a tangible, real blessing to us. She showed us real love – she acted, she spoke, she did stuff for our good, for our benefit. And we knew it. That's why we mourn. Janet's love wasn't just a fond thought – it was tangible, it was real, and it often got down in the dirt and muck with us, met us where we were at, even when we were at our lowest.

The love Janet showed you was Christ's love. Listen again to that old familiar verse – For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. God saw us at our lowest. He saw us at our worst, our meanest, our sinful-iest. He saw us even when the impact of that sinfulness brought us frailty, saw us when death came crawling near. From all eternity, God saw His Janet, even in these last few weeks, and God Himself said, “blankety-blank, I'm not going to sit by and just let this happen.” And so He acted. He showed love. He sent Christ Jesus into this world, into this world full of pain and suffering and death, and Jesus stepped willingly, boldly into death – carried His own Cross to His own death – because there was no way in hell (and I mean that literally, we just confessed that He descended into hell) that He was going to let Death just have and keep His Janet. And so Jesus, in order to show His love to Janet, to you, to me, stepped on into death itself, and tore it open, tore it a new one, ripped down the gates of hell with His pierced hands, broke open His own tomb and strode forth alive and said, “There, now my Janet, whom I claimed as My own in Holy Baptism, whose sins I forgave over and over again in Holy Absolution, who received My own Body and Blood in My Supper – now she will not perish but instead will have eternal life because I died for her. Now she will rise because I rose for her – and now she'll get to just enjoy heaven with Me until we both come again together come the last day.” That's Christ's love for Janet – and that's His love for you. And His love for Janet was so strong that it filled her up – her cup of Christ's love overflowed and spilled out on to all of us.

And Christ will continue to love you, to pour His love into you. For a time, we don't get to receive this via Janet any more – but Jesus still loves you, still pours in His love and forgiveness into you through His Church, through His Supper – He still puts His brothers and sisters into your lives to care for you – indeed, He puts you into each other's lives so that you give His love to each other. Exactly what He did for Janet and through Janet – that's still for you and through you. And because He loved Janet, because He loved you so that He went to Cross and died and rose – we're going to see Janet again. No power, not sin, not death, not Satan himself is going to keep her from rising, because Jesus loves her, loves us – and we will see her risen, see her with Christ Jesus our Lord – and that will be a good day.

Until then, we wait and we live in love, Christ's love. That's the point. That's what Janet knew and understood – that she was a forgiven child of God who got to pour out forgiveness and love to all of us here. Now, she gets to rest, relax a bit with her Lord – and that's good for her. And you know what – since we'll see her again, it's even good for us, because we all here are still well and thoroughly taken care of by Christ Jesus our Lord, and since He's decided in His wisdom to let us hang around here a bit longer and stick around in the business of showing His love, we know that He will be with us and strengthen us not only in faith towards Him but in fervent love for one another. Just as He did for Janet. Because that's how God shows us love, so that along with Janet and all who believe we would not perish but have eternal life. In the Name of Christ Jesus, the Light of the World + Amen.

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