Children of the Heavenly Father
Funeral sermon for Beverly Kitzmann
Psalm 23 // Joshua 24:14–15 // 1 John 3:1–3 // John 14:1–7
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our sermon text for today is the declaration of Joshua as the Lord opened up the Promised Land to him and to the people of Israel, “For me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.” Our text thus far.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Beverly was one of an army of kind and sweet church ladies that make a church house into a church home. She was one of many ladies who, at the end of her days, all that is left for us was that kindness and that sweetness. Beverly is a dear, dear soul, who blessed not only her church family but also her husband (as Proverbs 31 says, a fine wife is worth more than rubies – you know that, Frank), she blessed her children. She blessed her grandchildren.
Today, once again, we consider how much of a privilege it is that we get to lead our families in the fear of the Lord, how much of a privilege it is to be raising children and grandchildren and great grandchildren in the faith. Today, once again, we consider how sweet it is to be children ourselves, not only of our parents, but of our heavenly Father.
First, hear the words of Joshua 24, Joshua speaking to the children of Israel, “For me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.” Joshua says these words at the end of his life, after he has done all that the Lord commanded him to do for the children of Israel, shepherding them through the most change and travel that they would see in the next five hundred years. He was there disappointed with them as they were on the step of the Promised Land and turned back, forty years in the desert. He was there with the children of Israel as they were tempted and tested and tried. He was there to lead them as they leaned on the faithfulness of their God and conquered the Promised Land.
And here, at the end of his life, he speaks for himself and his household, that they would be holding fast to the teachings of the Lord, not only in his generation, but that that kind of a faith would be passed down to the next and the next and the next.
When I look at my two boys, I see all sorts of character traits and mannerisms I’ve passed down, some good and some not so good. On the one hand, the not-so-good. Every time my boys get too goofy (and it usually ends in someone getting hit and crying), every time I think, Lord God, is this what my parents had to deal with? Is this what I was like? Or, on the other hand, the good. Like my dad, I almost always thank my wife for the delicious food she cooked. Like my parents and grandparents, my family says the common table prayer together, we pray before bed, we read our Bible together, we go to church together.
No doubt, in these days, you see the touch of your mom and grandma everywhere. The look she would give, the care she would have, the kindness in her speech, these are gifts, extraordinary gifts passed down from generation to generation. These are gifts, extraordinary gifts, ones where we can say, with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we are marked with kindness, a kindness that we saw in our grandma. As for me and my house, we are marked with gentleness and thoughtfulness, the kind that we saw in mom.
Second, we consider how Beverly herself was a child, not only of her parents but of her Heavenly Father. Hear the words of 1 John 3 again: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.”
It was her habit, through years and decades and a lifetime, to gather to the Sanctuary. It was Bev’s habit to be receiving the words of the Invocation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and knowing that those were the words spoken over her in her baptism, those were the words that made her a child of her father in heaven, and in those words, “God his children ne’er forsaketh.”
It was her habit to speak the words of the confession of sins, confessing what she had done and what she had left undone, and hearing the sweetest thing ever said, forgiveness of her God
And in these last months, it was her habit to sit quietly on her couch as the pastor came by the house, as Frank held her hand, as they celebrated something that is totally out of this world, as they celebrated together the Lord’s Supper.
For in the Lord’s Supper, she looked forward. It is a foretaste of the eternal feast. In the bread and wine which are Christ’s body and blood, her heavenly Father scooped her up into his mighty arms, to bear her home. In the eating and the drinking, she was remembering the sole purpose of her God’s love, that she was coming home to see the mansion prepared for her in the presence of her God, for he is the way, the truth, and the life.
“Though he giveth or he taketh, God His children ne’er forsaketh; His the loving purpose solely, To preserve them pure and holy.”
May Beverly Joanne Kitzmann rest in peace. Amen and amen.
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