Todd A. Peperkorn, STM
Messiah Lutheran Church
September 21, 2008
Funeral Homily for Jeanette Davis
TITLE: “Follow Me”
Family and friends of Jeanette, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family and friends, and especially especially Bob and Diane, grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Our text for today is from the Gospel of St. Matthew chapter nine. We focus on the words of our Lord to Matthew the tax collector: “Follow Me”.
Jeanette Edith Davis was born on July 27, 1917. She was baptized into Christ on August 26, 1917 and confirmed in that same Christian faith on March 20, 1932. She married her dear husband, Lawrence on July 9, 1940. She died in Christ on September 16 in the year of our Lord 2008. “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”” (Revelation 14:13 ESV)
Follow me, our Lord says to Jeanette and to you. Follow me. That is the life of the Christian, of the baptized. Jeanette followed her Lord to death, and she will certainly follow Him to the resurrection of the dead at the last day. That’s why we’re here today. We’re here because Jeanette’s journey in Christ has moved beyond our shores and into another. So we gather here to remember, to reflect and to rejoice in all of the blessings that God gave to our dear sister in this life, and the blessings that are to come in the life with God.
I don’t need to rehearse Jeanette’s life for you today. Most all of you here were a part of her life, in one way or another. Some of you knew her for decades, maybe entire whole life. You worked with her, went to church with her, prayed with her, visited with her, ate with her, talked with her, or maybe more accurately listened to her. My time with Jeanette was spent being her pastor for the last nine years. During that time she went from being one of my peanut gallery in bible class, to home bound living next to her son, to staying at Brookside, where she worked for many years. The last few years were especially hard for her. She worked hard to keep a cheery disposition, but you could tell it was hard. I can remember more than a few times visiting with her when she really questioned while she was still here. This was made even worse at the time of the tragic death of her dear granddaughter, Jennie.
I don’t bring this up to revel in the sad or the morbid. I bring this up because we need to know what kind of life Jeanette lived, and perhaps more importantly, what kind of faith she has. It is easy to talk about faith when everything is easy. It is not so easy to talk about faith and trust in God when you can’t walk anymore, when your friends and relatives are dying all around you, and when you’re not sure why you are here on earth.
But Jeanette is baptized. Notice that I do not say was baptized. Jeanette is baptized. She is a child of God, holy and beloved by Him. Jeanette knew that even in the midst of suffering, God was still with her. Jeanette knew that when she died, that she would go home to be with her husband, with Jenny, and with all the saints in heaven to be with God forever. Jeanette believed in the resurrection of the body, and the life of the world to come. Remember again those beautiful words from the prophet Job:
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me! (Job 19:25-27 ESV)
At the last day, dear friends and family, at that last day our Lord will raise up Jeanette from the dead. This body, right here, will rise again. Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead so that Jeanette’s journey would not end in the grave. Our Lord called her to faith with the words, Follow Me. Those words, follow me, mean that God will not abandon her to death, but that she will rise again.
But of course, we still grieve. We grieve because Jeanette isn’t here, at least in the way we have known. We grieve because we will miss her, she has been a companion on this journey of life for many years. But we grief not as those without hope. We grieve and weep, knowing that our weeping will come to an end. The Lord will dry every tear, and will reunite us with our dear sister.
So rest well, sister Jeanette. Rest well until we meet again in the arms of our Savior, even Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Believe it for the sake of Him who died and rose again, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.