Posts Tagged ‘Funeral’

Arthur’s Dash

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

A Christian Funeral/Memorial Sermon for Arthur Lozier
January 16, 2019
Rev. Brian Henderson, Pastor of
Trinity Lutheran Church
San Diego, CA 92114

Click here for audio of this message

“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” [Philippians 1:6]  

Grace mercy and peace to you dear family and friends of Arthur James Lozier, from God our Father and our Savior Jesus Christ.

When I was a boy my brothers and I liked to walk around in the old cemetery near our home. We were fascinated by the old head stones dating back to the mid 1800’s.  They were for the most part simple and old granite head stones, which said something like, “John Doe 1804-1880.” As we walked around the head stones we wondered and talked about what kind of life they must have lived. Without more information, their entire lives seemed to be summed up with a dash that fell between their date of birth and their date of death. The dash simply acknowledged their life. 

Arthur Lozier’s dash, his life was rich and full. It was rich and full because the Lord Jesus Christ had claimed Art and had never left him!

Arthur’s life in Jesus began when as a small baby, he was baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at Zion Lutheran Church, in Oakland, California.

It was there in the waters of Holy baptism where God promised to complete the good work of salvation that He began in both Art and you dear baptized Christians. Listen to a few more of those promises contained in your Bibles: 

1. “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. [Psalm 138:8]
2. “(God) will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Cor. 1:8]
3. “This is the work of God, that you believe in (Jesus Christ) Whom He has sent.” [John 6:29]

Throughout Art’s life, God continued to complete His good work of forgiveness of sins and eternal life. As a boy, Art was instructed in the Word of God by Christian parents and the pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Berkley, CA. There at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Arthur was confirmed in His Christian faith and equipped by God to be able to approve what is excellent. Through this work of God, Art was promised that on the day of judgment he would be pronounced pure and blameless not because of the life he lived but because he trusted in Christ alone. 

It was then after the confirmation of His faith that Arthur as a young teen was invited to the Lord’s Table, and was offered and received Christ’s body and blood in with and under the bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins, the strengthening of faith, and the remembrance of the good work Christ both began and promised to complete throughout Art’s life.

Arthur’s dash of earthly life also included the blessing of marriage and the birth of two sons, Karl and Kurt.

During this time, Art would move his family to Australia. But as is true for all of God’s baptized saints, trouble and sin were always near Art. Art found Christ’s promise of forgiveness and comfort to be personal and true after his marriage ended in divorce. It was then and there that this promise of Christ found Art: “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33]

Out of the tragedy of sin and divorce, Art was retaught a truth that all of us Christians learn over and over again; we live out our dash of life simultaneously as a baptized saint and a earth bound sinner. In the Word of God, the law of God forces us to look within our own hearts and discover sin and condemnation. But in that same Word of God we are daily taught that God’s Son Jesus Christ has overcome the world and our own sin; He has set us free from that sin with Words of forgiveness, redemption and new life. This Good News of forgiveness is what turned Art’s heart back to Christ’s cross and the waters of baptism. It is this very thing that continues to draw each of us back to God seeking a renewed life in Christ.

When Art left Australia and returned to the U.S., he felt the calling of God to reconnect to Christ’s Church, and he did that very thing right here at Trinity Lutheran Church in San Diego, and we his church family are glad he did!

Art’s dash, his earthly life here among us at Trinity was always centered around the promises of God through Jesus Christ. 

In God’s Word, Arthur found forgiveness for his many sins, and comfort and strength to live out his redeemed life in a broken world. He found comfort because God’s Word had convinced him that He was never outside of Jesus ability to save him. He found the strength to continue living in dark and sometimes lonely times, because he knew by faith that through Christ Jesus, God would never leave him nor forsake him.

Art was active in both growing and expressing his Christian faith here at Trinity. He was a regular member of both our Sunday and Wednesday morning Bible Studies where he dug deeper into God’s Word. He asked honest questions about the Christian faith and celebrated both the revealed will of God and the unrevealed will of God. For instance, Art celebrated the truth that through Christ’s death upon the cross and the life giving waters of baptism all are offered forgiveness, yet this truth some times irritated and saddened him, because he could not understand why so many baptized Christians seemed to happily reject God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life. As with most of us, Art found that he had no choice but to trust the same God who began the work of salvation to complete that good work as well. Art had faith that one day the people he knew and loved who rejected God’s gift of forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ would finally surrender to Christ and find salvation.  

Art was active in the Men’s Club and served on the Board of Elders up until his death. Art also loved to read the Word of God publicly at Divine Service. All of you who are members here a Trinity can easily close your eyes and hear in your mind his strong base tone enunciating each syllable that made up the readings for the day!

Dear friends, Arthur James Lozier’s life must not be defined simply by a date of birth and a date of death but by the redeemed life that is represented in the dash. I end this message as we began this service with this proclamation of God’s own truth: In Holy Baptism Brother Arthur James Lozier was clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness that covered all his sin.  St. Paul says, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” Each of us then along with Art were buried therefore with Jesus by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. 

Art has found redemption and peace with God in a place not made with hands, but in a paradise prepared by Jesus Himself.  May God By faith confirm this promise in each of our hearts in Jesus name… Amen!

Tension

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

A Funeral Sermon for the Christian Memorial Service of Father and Son, our brothers in Christ, James Albert Love and Orgrette Lloyd Love
January 16th, 2016
Rev. Brian Henderson-Pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church,
7210 Lisbon Street, San Diego, CA
http://www.tlcsd.org

Click here for audio of this message

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” [Proverbs 14:10] (But praise His name) “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. [2 Peter 3:9]

Grace, Mercy and Peace to you dear family and friends of James and Orgrette Love.  Today, it is my privilege and honor to declare to you as pastor to both James and his son Orgrette, that His patience won the day as both father and son went to sleep in both repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.  Both had followed the way that seemed right to them, even if it was obviously wrong to everyone else, but both eventually repented of their own way and in fact, by faith they embraced and followed the narrow way of holy  baptism, of confession, contrition, repentance, and forgiveness.

Both father and son started out the same way that all of us started out, sinners in need of a Savior.

Thank God, both had parents that knew that their children’s lives, even as infants, must be turned over to God.  Both were baptized, like most of us, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Both father and son were taught of God’s love and mercy; both knew that it was only through Jesus Christ alone that they could be saved, and yet both like most of us, chose a way that seemed better, a way that seemed right to them; a way not of the Lord.  And so within their hearts, they consciously walked off of the narrow way of Christ, and embraced a different way; the way of the world.

Can you feel the tension?  If you can, then you are looking at their lives from the perspective of God.  You know, you can only have that perspective if you yourself are already resting within God’s grace through Jesus Christ.  You can only have that perspective if you’ve been given a more excellent kind of love that can come only from God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ.  For you see, this kind of tension or un-comfortableness is only possible when you can understand the hurt God feels when one of His own walks away from Him.  This is why preachers like myself can boldly declare to sinners, all sinners that it is never too late to return to your God, to embrace the gifts that the Son of God, Jesus Christ freely and gladly gives to sinners, all sinners; even you.

You see, our God is patient; He does not desire the death or eternal punishment of any sinner.  Now, perhaps there are some, maybe even some here this morning, who may not understand how this could be true for James or Orgrette.  Perhaps they have caused pain or turmoil that some may feel was never atoned for or made right; maybe you feel that their sin can never be made right.  But God knows, and God waits.  He knows what we could never know, and He waits for opportunities and circumstances in life that we could never foresee.  God waits because God loves each of us sinners; He loves us and He does not wish for us to die apart from Him.

Both the father James and Orgrette the son knew of God’s love and mercy.  They both knew that there was another Father who would show His love to sinners, any sinners, all sinners, through another Son, His Son Jesus Christ.  You see, both sinners, father and son, came to know of the love of The Father, through the love and sacrifice of The Son.  And both would have me tell each of you this morning that this very same love of God is for you as well, if you will only see a need for it.  Both would have me tell you, that upon their death-beds, each repented of their sins all sins, and both of them were heartily sorry for any hurt they may have brought to God and you.

So which way are you following today?

I know that you are here, within the tent of the Lord; but are you only visiting or are you living within it?  Do you want to flourish within the love of the Father and find both forgiveness and new life through the grace of the Son Jesus Christ, or are you determined to follow your own way; a way that God and not the preacher declares leads to death?  Are you uncomfortable with the question, because you have always considered yourself a Christian?  But let me ask you another question, “Is it possible that your un-comfortableness is due to what God calls backsliding; walking away from God’s way?

This morning, God calls us to do now, what James and Orgette also did; He asks us to consider our ways and think of every step in life we have taken.  And after you consider those things, can you agree that you have a need for a Savior, for a Champion who can bring you back out of darkness into God’s own light.  Can you agree that you do need to turn away from the way of the world, from the way that seemed right to you, and return back to what God started for you?

Brother James Love, was a trusted and valued member of this congregation.  He is the only man in the history of both Trinity and Messiah Lutheran Church that I know of, that was granted through a unanimous vote of the members of this church, an honorary title of Elder Emeritus.  It would be an understatement to say that He was loved and cherished by us.  It is this man, who freely confessed to be a sinner as defined by sins past, but gladly confessed to be a saint through the work of Jesus Christ, who would remind me constantly of two things, and for fact, I was assured by Orgrette that his father repeated these words to him as well, and here they are…

“Pastor, ya gotta remind the people that CHRIST will come again like a thief in the night; ya gotta remind them that they need to come back to Jesus before it’s too late. They got that Atomic bomb, and they’re not afraid to use it.  If they wait to come back to Jesus it might be too late.”

I promised brother Love that I would somehow work that into every message; I would do my best to communicate the urgency of returning to Jesus, or coming back to the church, a clear and trusted message.  And this morning, once again I am making good my promise.  But there was one more promise I made to Elder Love that I must tell you of; it is a promise that rests on his conviction that members of Messiah Lutheran Church would never be forgotten nor forsaken by Trinity.

Elder Love felt that the reason that so many never moved from Messiah to Trinity was because of his past failures or sins to keep the church together under the same zeal that Pastor Brink used, in order to form Messiah, long ago.  So, he asked me to never give up on his children and all of the other children that were now themselves adults, parents, and grandparents.  He requested that they remain members of Trinity in perpetuity; that is a promise I made and still intend to keep.  This dear friends is a picture of the repentant heart of Brother/Elder James Love.  And because of this promise, I beseech you in the name of Jesus Christ to be reconciled to God; come home to Christ’s church.  He and we, are here for you, and we love you; we always will.

Your God, Jesus Christ is here at Trinity in the very same way He was with you at Messiah.  He has not given up on you; He still saves a seat for you at His Table, where each Sunday, we become part of His Holy Communion, where we eat and drink His forgiveness of sins through Christ’s body and blood, in, with, and under the bread and the wine, just as you were taught long ago at Messiah Lutheran Church.

As I close this special funeral message, I can assure you that both James and Orgerette were able to see the Father, through Holy Scripture and the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  You dear saints, each of you have through the years also come to know the Son, and because you know the Son, you also know the Father and His forgiving love.

I pray that you will believe that Jesus is One in and with the Father and that the Father is here in Christ’s body, His church, even here at little Trinity Lutheran Church.  I have now in Christ’s Word shown you both the Father’s righteousness and His mercy, His grace and His love.  Will you be reconciled; will you come home?  I pray that you will, and I ask this in Jesus name… AMEN!

The Christian Funeral of Erlinda A. Otten

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Born to Eternal Life
February 13, 2010
Rev. Brian Henderson,
Pastor-Trinity Lutheran Church
San Diego, California

Click here for audio of this message