A Good Deposit
Funeral Sermon for Carol Jean
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from our Lord and our Savior Jesus Christ.
Today we consider the grace, the mercy, and the peace of Jesus in the life of Carol Jean Muther. We consider God’s grace to her, and we consider God’s grace through her, a grace that has come to all of us.
Two images, two Scriptures, and two thoughts for today as we reflect the life, the death, and most importantly the everlasting life of Carol Jean Muther, and I’m not going to use her first name, because she wouldn’t have wanted that.
Image number one. It was years and years ago that grandma was looking to clean out her garage, which is a story all in itself, and she asked us to come on over and take what we would want to take, and next to the belt grinder, across from one of the chest freezers, kind of wedged by the door, on the ground, behind a miscellaneous small engine or two I found a couple of cast iron skillets. Caked with rust, wrapped in paper towels, sitting on the ground. They were Grandma’s, and when we pulled them out she said, “Oh those are still good. All you have to do it clean them up.” And that’s what we did. Put a little elbow grease into them, re-seasoned them in the oven, and they are to this day, our very favorite skillets. It was a good inheritance, from generation to generation.
And I tell you that to tell you this. It isn’t just cast iron skillets that we inherited. Grandma and Aunt Suz coming to Janesville for the Muther Reunion. It was a production. It was hot, but it was really good. I remember seeing Grandma in the corner of the playroom, with a little plate of something, with a (you knew this was coming) a half cup of hot coffee, seeing Uncle Tim laying on the couch next to her. Our inheritance is being a part of a family. Doing the things that we have all felt as normal our whole lives, that is an inheritance that we see, one that is passed down, one that is what it is because of who grandma was... For example, my sense of humor, like my varicose veins comes from my Dad which comes from Grandma and Grandpa. We wouldn’t be the way that we are if Grandpa wouldn’t have tried to convince everyone to invest in Heinz, because everyone uses ketchup. And Grandma sighed and said, “Oh Bob.”
It is what Paul tells Timothy in his letter, right at the beginning. “As I remember your tears – and there are tears today – I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt in your grandmother and in your mother and now is in you.” This faith that you have is a deposit, a gift, from your parents and your parents’ parents. This faith is a product of a family that saved for a good Lutheran education. This faith is a product of a family that cared for each other in good times and in bad. This faith is a good deposit, an inheritance from generation to generation. To make really good German potato salad. To bear with each other’s weaknesses. To value laughter. To mourn in hope because we know for heaven’s sake, there’s more to life than what we can see. It is an inheritance passed from generation to generation.
Image number two. It’s from her very favorite psalm, Psalm 23. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. You know it well. The last line, surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. The image, the final life, of Jesus Christ following Grandma around, much like Aunt Suz was following Grandma around, much like Grandma was following Aunt Suz around.
Just as in John 10, Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd, following Grandma around with goodness and mercy, not only in this life but also for eternity. Dear family, the Christian hope is that instead of a wall, death has become a door. By the death and resurrection of Jesus, instead of an end, death becomes a gate. By the sacrifice of God himself, the Good Shepherd that’s been following Grandma around all of the days of her life is now the Good Shepherd that has led her home.
He has called her by name in her baptism, and no one could ever, ever snatch her out of his hand.
Jesus Christ was born into this world for Carol’s sake. He was crucified and buried to pay for Grandma’s salvation. He died with a picture of her in his heart. He was raised to life again with her name on his lips.
Her life in a place where the eggs sandwiches are as good they get, where there is no more back pain, where there are no more tears, where life is not hard anymore, where the homemade ladders are not wobbly, where the tips are always good, and where her family, the one she loved in life, becomes the family of Christ forever and ever.
And like Grandpa, she’s never been arrested.
Amen and amen.
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