Jean Ann (Reader) Hill Funeral
Funeral Sermon – Jean Ann (Reader) Hill
May 28, 2021
Melvin, Diane and Carol,
Jim and Richard,
Family, Friends and Acquaintances,
Members of Calvary Lutheran Church,
The Word of the Living God I would lay upon your hearts for your comfort this morning is recorded in the final verse of the 23rd Psalm, verse 6, where we find these words:
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.
In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Who died to provide us a heavenly home,
Dear Friends in Christ Jesus --
David was certainly a man who knew what it was like to be ‘homeless.’
When he was a boy, he had a place to call home, but there was a period of time in his life that He was truly homeless and even running for his life. It was at a time when he might have expected things to be different – he had just been anointed as the next King in Israel, the successor to King Saul.
Still, he was not moving from room to room in his new palace – but from cave to cave in the Judean Wilderness. The relationship he had with Saul soured, and Saul wanted him dead.
Thus, David lived out in the elements, in places without the creature comforts of what we would call ‘home.’ No doubt there were times of weakness when David wondered if he would ever have a place to call home.
How then could this ‘homeless’ man be moved to write these words: ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever’?
Did he spend one too many nights with a rock as his pillow? How could such a man be so certain that goodness and mercy would be his companion all the days of his life?
It wasn’t what you might think. He knew better than to think he deserved it because of the difficulties of life. He was certain of his future – not because of his own plans to make it great – but because God promised Him great things. He promised him goodness and mercy.
God promised to protect him in life – and he had. When Goliath stood and blasphemed and the Israelite Army trembled – David, certain of God’s protection took up slingshot and rock and went out to meet him.
God promised to provide a Savior and the Righteousness he needed to stand at the Judgment – and He has provided Jesus Christ.
Still, long before the Son of God was clothed in flesh and blood, the Holy Spirit moved David to express his faith in that Savior, to write in the 31st Psalm the prayer of every Christian –
“In You, O LORD, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.”
God made good on all His past promises – so David was certain that his future included eternal goodness and mercy at the hand of God.
While she experienced difficult times – Jean was never really ‘homeless.’ She called the farm home. She came to call a place out off 545 home. She called the place in Florida, Home. She also considered this building – home.
After all, Jesus, like a loving brother came to her to speak to her in His Word. He came to comfort her in the Lord’s Supper, assuring her that she had not been forgotten – but forgiven -- through the giving of his body into death and the shedding of His Blood.
Jesus assured Jean thereby that His goodness and mercy would follow her all her remaining days on earth and beyond.
Yet, it wasn’t about her, it was about Him, His goodness and mercy. We should be thankful to God that He promised to protect her in life and did. We should be thankful that God promised her a Savior in Christ and the righteousness she as a sinner needed – and He delivered. She is with the LORD, which is far better.
While David may at times have had questions about his earthly place of residence, he was certain of one thing – that He would dwell in the house of the LORD – Forever.
This House of the LORD to which David referred was not merely the Temple of God, a building like this one dedicated to God. Although David the sinner often spent time in that earthly house confessing his sin and seeking the assurance of God’s mercy – it is another ‘house of the Lord’ of which he speaks here.
David speaks of his heavenly home – the place for him that would one day be purchased and won by a relative – named Jesus Christ – a King who would reign forever and ever. Thus, by faith he could look forward to the day when He would rest with his fathers and see that redeemer face to face.
Trusting in God he could say confidently:
I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Jean also looked forward to the day she would go home – not back to the old homestead or the place on West Branch Road or the place in Florida -- but to her heavenly home. I’m certain that she and Melvin spoke of this.
Jean knew that the day would come – but not because of anything she had done – because of Christ her Lord. He promised her He was making a permanent place for her to call home, saying (John 14:1-3):
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
Jesus promised to come for her when everything was ready. So, He has – and she’s home at last.
Jesus protected and prepared her. He made her his own – family – at her baptism and confirmed her faith in Him through His Supper and through the hearing of His Word.
He wants to do the same for you.
Are you ready to go home too? Are you packed? What do you really need? All you need is Jesus Christ, to trust in Him – and you too will one day go home at last.