Todd A. Peperkorn, STM
Messiah Lutheran Church
The Visitation of our Lord (July 2, 2009)
Funeral Homily for Emilie Mohr
Psalm 1:1-2 (Confirmation Verses)
For an audio MP3 of this sermon, CLICK HERE
Family and friends of Emilie, especially David and Marilyn, Cecilia and Paula, sisters, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, in-laws, friends and other family: grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Our text for today is Emilie’s Bible verse from when she was confirmation at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in 1934, Psalm 1, verses 1 & 2: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalms 1:1-2 ESV)
Emilie Herman was born November 10, 1919 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the daughter of German-Russian immigrants. She was baptized into Christ at Trinity Lutheran Church on November 23, 1919, and was confirmed in that same faith on April 1, 1934, when she first received Christ’s body and blood in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. She married David Scherer, Jr., on November 11, 1939. They were married 31 years, and had two sons. After the death of her husband, David, in 1970, she married Emmanuel Mohr of Kenosha. They were married 36 years. She is survived by her son, David, stepdaughters Paula and Cecilia, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and probably more family and friends than I or anyone else could count. She died in Christ on June 21 in the year of our Lord 2009. St. John writes: “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!”” (Rev. 14:13 ESV)
It’s hard to sit back and try to evaluate the life of such a person as Emilie. The daughter of German-Russian immigrants, she grew up at a time and in a culture far removed from us today. She grew up with another language, lived through the Second World War, Korea, Vietnam. She raised two sons, and sadly had to bury both her husband, David, and her son, John. She lived in Illinois, Arizona, and Wisconsin. But what was the thread that held her varied life together? Music, which she loved so dearly? Her friends? Shopping? Her family?
All of these are a part of the tapestry which is the life of Emilie. I’m sure there are many others which I don’t even know about. I’m sure there are plenty of good stories, as well. Knowing Emilie, I’m certain they are worth hearing.
But today isn’t about Emilie. Not finally, at least. Today is about this thread that held her life together. The thread, which weaved in and out of her life wherever she went, is the Word of God. Even in her confirmation verse, given to her in 1934, we see that the blessed man (or woman) delights in the law or the Word of God. Emilie was baptized and grew up in a household of faith. She raised her family in Christ’s Word. She was a member here at Messiah for the last twenty some years, where she developed a whole new family of faith, where we can hardly imagine life without Emilie sitting in church, proper but with a somewhat mischievous smile on her face.
This thread of the Word of God runs through her life. In the church today we celebrate the visitation of our Lord, when Mary went to see her cousin, Elizabeth. At the greeting of the Mother of God, John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb. That is the power that the Word of God holds. It is a creative power. It is by the Word of God that the heavens were made, and it is by the Word of God that Emilie was remade in the waters of Holy Baptism. It is by the power of the Word of God that she received Christ’s Body and Blood week after week for most of her life. And it is by that same Word of God that Emilie will be raised from the dead on the Last Day. Until that day, though, she rests with David, with John, and with all of her loved ones and ours.
For those of us who remain, it is a bittersweet parting. There is no doubt that we rejoice that she is with Christ, which is far greater than this earthly life. Emilie was a sinner, who needed a Savior, Jesus Christ. He has forgiven all her sins and she now sits with Him in the heavenly places. Jesus said to the thief on the cross, today you will be with me in paradise. It was true for him, and it is true for her. What a great blessing!
Yet at the same time, we miss her. We miss her smile and her laugh. We miss the fact that a part of our history and our common life together is no longer with us. This is a time for weeping and sadness, there is no doubt. But our sadness is not like the sadness of the wicked and ungodly, as her confirmation verse would put it. Our sadness is that she is not with us, and that we have to wait to be reunited with her in the resurrection of the dead. Our sorrow is for today, but it will not last. There will be a time, dearly beloved, when Christ will call her out from the tomb just as he called out Lazarus. There will be a time when the music she played and sang will ring out in the choirs of the heavenly host. There will be a time when we will see God in the flesh, just as job confessed, “I know that my redeemer liveth.” That was Emilie’s hope throughout her life, and that is ours as well.
So rest well, Emilie. Rest well in the arms of Jesus, until that last, great day when we will be reunited again in the resurrection of the dead.
Believe it for the sake of Him who died and rose again, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.