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Funeral for Louie Schmidt

John 12:23-26

Rev. Andrew Eckert

St. Paul's Lutheran Church  
Wellston, Oklahoma

Wed, Sep 22, 2010 

Grace, mercy, and peace to you, especially to you, the family of our brother Louie.

The text for the sermon is from the Gospel of Saint John, chapter 12, beginning with verse 23: "Jesus said, 'The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.  Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.  He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me, and where I am, there My servant will be also.  If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.'" Thus far the text.

Louie learned all about seeds.  He learned all about sowing and harvest.  He planted many seeds in his lifetime, and took care of many plants.

Now Louie himself is being planted, and is awaiting the Harvest Day.

The Lord is planting our brother Louie as a seed.  His body will be planted in the earth in a seedbed called a cemetery.  On the Harvest Day, the seed will sprout up, and a new, glorious life will come forth from the ground - the resurrected body that God shall make from this humble seed.

The tree that grows up from a planted seed is far greater than the humble seed.  In the same way, the new body that is raised shall be far more glorious than Louie was in this life.  There will be no weakness in the resurrection body at all.  He will be stronger than he ever was, physically, mentally, and spiritually.  He will feel neither pain nor sorrow.  His body enters the ground as a lifeless, sinful body, subject to pain and death.  He will step forth out of the ground as a mighty immortal, sinless and perfect, like Christ his Lord.

For Louie is in Christ, and His life has been hidden in Christ.

Christ our Lord lived in weakness, taking the form of a servant.  He suffered pain and sorrow, as Louie has felt those things also.  Then Christ was glorified, although His glory did not look like glory to human eyes.  His glory was agony and crucifixion and death.  His glory was taking the sins of the world and the punishment of all our guilt.

Christ had to die in weakness.  So Louie, His servant, has followed in his Lord's path, dying like Him.  Death is not good.  It was never meant to be in God's original plan.  But even this evil, God has turned into good for His saints.  So Louie has passed through death, and has left this veil of tears to see Christ face to face.  His labors are ended, and all pain is behind him.

Now Louie is awaiting the Harvest Day so that his victory may be completed, once and for all.  Louie eagerly desires the Day when all the heavens and the earth will be set right, and his body raised to perfection.  Then the heavenly Father will give everlasting honor and glory to Louie and to all His saints.

Brothers and sisters, you must wait as well.  As you hate your own lives by repenting of your sins, you also look in faith to Christ who has redeemed you.  He has saved your life and given you His own life.  As He was the original Seed promised from ancient times, so you are now seeds in His image.  As long as this earth remains, you must follow the path of Christ that leads through the grave.

Take heart, even on days of sorrow such as this one.  Your Lord is always with you.  Although you must bear sadness and weakness, remember that you are only seeds, and this life of humility will be followed by unimaginable glory.

For your Lord has died for you.  He planted Himself in the earth so that your graves are made holy resting places.  He entered death so that death has lost its sting for you.  He has opened the doors of Paradise, and prepared glorious mansions where you will dwell forever with all the saints, including our brother Louie.

Therefore, all the saints rejoice in the glorious and eternal life that our Lord has purchased for us.  In His Name alone, with the Father and the Spirit, one God forever.  Amen.

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