Eleanor Berglund Funeral (John 14)
- Order of Service: Funeral Service
- Hymns: LSB #878, 727, 739
In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:2-3)
Kathy and Larry, Walter and Virginia, Charles and Shirley, Carol and Charles, Lorraine and Steve, Darrell and LaVonne, James and Connie, and everyone who knew and loved Eleanor, grace and peace be yours from God our Father through His resurrected Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
At sorrowful times like these, you look to answer the question, “Where is my room?” We sing the hymn, as we have done this morning, “Abide with Me.” Where is that abode? Jesus certainly abides with us here below, but is your room here? Or is it above? The answer to this question describes your hope in this life and for the next.
Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.” Eleanor was a strong woman of faith. This was evidenced throughout her life. She had her struggles and her trials, but her faith didn't waver. She remained able to hope in her Lord. She hoped because she believed in God's promises. She knew that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed.” She hoped because she had seen His glory revealed to her in the grace He gave her in the midst of her sufferings. The troubles would not get the best of her because she hoped in Jesus.
And as we grieve this morning, and in the days ahead, she would not have us “grieve as others do who have no hope.” Eleanor believed in a God who raises the dead. She knew what would happen to her after she died. She would be reunited with those who have gone before her. She would once again see Don and Albert. She would have no more pain or sorrow. She would be in God's house, where she wanted to be above everything else.
She found God's house in a variety of places. Here at Trinity. At Maple Lawn. Wherever people gather around God's Word. When she didn't feel up to making it to the worship services, she desired to be there. She was glad when she was able to be in God's house. Sometimes being one of the first ones there. She didn't want to miss out on God's blessings.
We go to God's house so we can receive His blessings. To have our panting and thirsting soul refreshed by His living water. That little taste of Heaven that we can get here on earth. Strengthening us in our jars of clay so that we may stand up to the presures of this world and hold our heads high. Eleanor knew the strength God gave her. She rejoiced in it because she knew that she would, one day, be in God's house in Heaven. But, while she was still on this earth, she knew that God would keep her safe.
While on earth, we have Jesus' death filling our lives. Covering our sins with His salvation. Promoting the new life that has been begun in us. A new life that will be complete when we reach God's heavenly home. Then we will see what it truly means to have Jesus' life filling and overflowing our souls. We will be one of those “coming out of the Great Tribulation.” Leaving the pains of this world to enter the joys of Heaven. Waving the palm branches of His victorious salvation of our souls.
We will live in our heavenly Father's house. Where “there are many rooms.” Your room and mine. And a room for every faithful Christian who has worn His name. Who has believed in Him and the power of His resurrection. Power that makes you “afflicted … but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”
Life is difficult in this world, but it is most difficult because your room is not in this world. Your room is in the world to come. Where there will be no affliction. No perplexion. No persecution. No striking down. Where there will be comfort, understanding, joy and building up. Where there will be no hunger or thirst. No tears in the eyes. Where life will not be difficult but joyous. Joyous beyond belief and comprehension. Because your room is there.
If your room is not there, you still have time. But the time is short. The end of Eleanor's life was sudden. Yours may be as well. “Thus says the LORD: 'In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you.' … Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Today is your day of salvation. The crucified Jesus still holds His arms out wide to embrace you with His grace, mercy and peace. To fill you not only with His death, but to comfort you with life everlasting. A room where you will find true and everlasting salvation for your soul. Joy that makes the sufferings of this life seem miniscule.
As we began our service this morning, we will end our service at the graveside with those wonderfully haunting words, “Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes; shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies, Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee; in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.” Amen.