Monday, July 16, 2012

Sermon for 7/13/12--Funeral of Dave Young

Depart in Peace
Luke 2:25-31

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

My brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord works in mysterious ways.  Given the opportunity, each of us could tell of a time when the Lord worked in some strange, unexpected way in our lives.  Simeon in our text was no exception.  We don’t know a lot about Simeon.  All our text says is that Simeon was “just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel.”  The same could be said of many people throughout the Old Testament, those who waited for the Messiah promised to Adam and Eve, to Abraham and to his children.

But then our text tells us of the extraordinary work of God in Simeon’s life.  Luke tells us that the Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the anointed one of God.  And suddenly, that promise was fulfilled.  Mary and Joseph enter the Temple with the Christ Child, and Simeon is actually given the wonderful privilege of holding in his arms the Savior of the world.  What the universe cannot contain, one man held in His arms. Who in the world, looking at an infant, would consider the possibility that the child could be the Salvation of the world?  But Simeon knew.  Even as he held the Child in his arms, Simeon knew that the Holy Spirit’s promise to him had been fulfilled. The Lord does not work this way anymore, does He?

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I tell you the truth, David, our dearly departed brother in faith, received the same promise from the Holy Spirit.  Do you find that hard to believe?  If so, then what I say to you now will be even harder to believe: you have received that same promise from the Holy Spirit, as well.  This is a strange and wonderful idea, but it’s hard to believe.  Let me explain. The Lord looked down from above, and He knew that David would not die until he had seen the Christ.  And David did see Him.  I can tell you this for a fact.  Do you need evidence?  One: Dave was a Baptized child of God.  In Baptism, Dave beheld his Savior.  Once he had received that washing of regeneration, David could have departed in peace as a baby.  But that was not God’s will.

Two: David frequently confessed his faith in God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Having seen the Lord for himself in the Word, in the preaching of his pastor, and in the words of the worship service, David was able, with his family and his congregation, to confess his faith in his God.  Having seen his God in all of those things, he could have departed in peace.  But again, this was not God’s will.

And Three: Two days before he died, David took part in the very mystery in which Simeon was blessed to take part.  We knelt at this rail and before this altar, and through the wonder and mystery of the Word of God, we actually held in our hands and tasted the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. David knew very well what he received that day. He had confessed it all his life, and when his life was nearing its end, he continued to confess it. And having seen his Lord once again, he was again ready to depart in peace.

So when would it be?  When would the promise to David be fulfilled?  None of us knew until Tuesday, when the Lord finally took Dave from this world of pain and sin, taking him to Himself for rest.  Of course, God knew all along when David’s time would be.  He had promised David that he would not die before he saw His Lord.  And sure enough, when the time was right, the Lord kept His promise.

This is not meant to be an account of how good and just and righteous a man was David Young.  Like the rest of us, David was a sinner.  Even until his dying breath, David was a sinner.  But the Lord forgave him those sins.

So what about you?  Do you still find it hard to believe?  Believe it or not, the promise is for you and for your children.  Whether you believe it or not, Jesus died for you.  If you have been baptized, you have seen your Savior.  Like God brought Simeon to the Temple, God calls you to be where He is, even today in your grief.  Even in grief, ours is a life of faith.  Living by faith means believing in the Word even when we feel cold and dead inside, when our minds have gone numb with grief.  Even then, we live by faith, and we trust the Word of God.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, time is not without an end, and neither is your sorrow or your pain without end.  Jesus lives.  He is coming back.  For now, while we wait, He is here for you in the places where He promises to be.  And even as you mourn, you see your Savior Jesus Christ: even as He promised you; even as He promised Simeon; even as He promised David.  And so with Simeon, and with Dave, we can rejoice: “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”  In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always.  Amen.

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