Cranach
I Want to Go Home
Wednesday of Pentecost 3
8 June 2016
Just when we think we cannot do without a son, a daughter, or a parent, they may be taken from us. We will only learn the meaning of family when family is shattered by death. Family only finds its proper meaning in Christ, whose voice remakes it. He restores the proper meaning of family to us when He becomes the Kinsman-Redeemer of the whole human race.

This is why Jesus assaults death. He returns life to us. Jesus accomplishes life with one word, as he spoke to the blind and the lepers: "Receive your sight, be clean." His Word does all. Even now the preacher's voice which proclaims God's Word is not called man's word, but God's Word, so here the voice is the voice of the Lord Christ, as being spoken by his command and power (Lk 7:14). We who were dead in our trespasses and sins have life. The Life has stopped the procession of death. This is why Christians die with a supreme confidence in the life which is to come. A friend told me of a dear relative who died after a family pizza dinner. She said quite decisively after the dinner, "I want to go home." They pulled the car up to the door of the restaurant, perhaps thinking she was tired, and began to drive her to her earthly home. But suddenly they realized that they were going to the wrong place as she continued to say, "I want to go home." They turned for the hospital where their dear mother peacefully went home to see Jesus. This is what she meant when she said, "I want to go home."

All of us have suffered a death; husband, wife, mother, father, friend, neighbor, co-worker, or worst of all a child or grandchild. Jesus Himself stands athwart our funeral arrangements and changes everything. Death may not trudge past life. Jesus holds your hand at the funeral. Jesus says to you, "Don't keep on crying" (Lk 7:13). Where life is, grieving may not remain. The coffin cannot imprison the remains of those who have remained in Christ. 

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther

"When his dead daughter was placed in a coffin, Martin Luther said, 'You dear little Lena! How well it has turned out for you!'
"He looked at her and said, 'Ah, dear child, to think that you must be raised up and will shine like the stars, yes, like the sun!'

"The coffin would not hold her, and he said, 'The little bed is too small for her.'

"Before this, when she died, he said, 'I am joyful in spirit but I am sad according to the flesh. The flesh doesn't take kindly to this. The separation [caused by death] troubles me above measure. It's strange to know that she is surely at peace and that she is well off there, very well off, and yet to grieve so much!'"

Martin Luther, Table Talk, 5498
2 Samuel 18:28-33

Ahimaaz cried out to the king, "All is well." And he bowed before the king with his face to the earth and said, "Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king." And the king said, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?" Ahimaaz answered, "When Joab sent the king's servant, your servant, I saw a great commotion, but I do not know what it was." And the king said, "Turn aside and stand here." So he turned aside and stood still.

And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, "Good news for my lord the king! For the LORD has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you." The king said to the Cushite, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?" And the Cushite answered, "May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man." And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!" (ESV)
Prayer
Forgive me, Lord, for Thy dear Son, The ill that I this day have done, That with the world, myself, and Thee, I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.
Teach me to live that I may dread The grave as little as my bed. Teach me to die that so I may Rise glorious at the awe-full day. Amen. (LSB 883: 2-3)

For all those who are grieving the loss of loved ones, that they would be encouraged by the promise of life given by the One who is the Life.

For Leslie Roch, that the Lord would watch over her as she undergoes surgery

For those who are going through job interviews, that they would be selected for work that is in keeping with their God-given vocation
Art: Cranach, Lucas the Younger The Raising of the Young Man of Nain (1569) 
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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