Todd A. Peperkorn, STM
Messiah Lutheran Church
Funeral Service for Hilma I. Maddern
March 21, 2011
TITLE: “Kept in Christ”
Family and friends of Hilma, both those who are here and those who are unable to be here, grace to you and peace form God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Our text for today is from the Gospel Lesson just read from Psalm 121 verse 8, The Lord will keep, your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
Hilma Irene Maddern nee Waldros was born on October 7, 1922 and was baptized on November 7 of that same year. She was married at the tender age of sixteen on November 24, 1938 to her dear husband, Clayton. They are blessed with four children. Hilma was confirmed in the at Zion Lutheran church in what is now Ironwood, Wisconsin on March 28, 1937. She died in Christ on March 17 in the year of our Lord 2011, where she awaits the resurrection of all flesh. Blessed are the dead who die in this Lord from this time forth and even forevermore.
It is nearly impossible to evaluate the life of someone eighty eight years old, who was married at sixteen, and lived to see sixty eight years of married life. They raised four children, one of whom, Marlayne, was her special child who suffered from Down’s Syndrome until her untimely death in 2006, just a few short weeks after her husband, Clayton, died in Christ as well.
How would one describe Hilma? I suppose there are lots of words we could use. Words like charismatic or dedicated. Cheerful or faithful. I think I would use the word motherly. I’m sure each of you have your own descriptions.
It is also important to recognize that her life was not all roses and knitting. Taking care of her family was work, as any family knows. She could get discouraged and frustrated, even angry sometimes. Hilma was certainly a sinner, as are we all.
So what made things make sense for her? How did she survive the good times and bad, the lifetime of experiences that make up her story? The answer lies in her Baptism. Eighty Eight years ago she was baptized into Christ. When that happened, everything changed for Hilma. She was adopted into another family, a family far more wondrous than anything here on earth.
We prayed in Psalm 121 about a journey. Originally the Psalm was a traveling song. It was a song that the children of Israel would sing when they were to begin a journey. The song tells the story of how the first thing the Israelites would do is lift up their eyes and see that the beginning and end of the journey was in God.
God is the one who would not leave her alone on these many travels. He does not sleep. He is her keeper. He is the one who kept her safe in so many trials and tribulations. Every step of her life, God was there. Beginning, middle and end.
I was blessed to speak communicate with Pastor LaPlant, who has served Hilma since she moved up to Minnesota several years ago. So I know that God was still with her, blessing her, giving Hilma His own Son’s body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. Pastor LaPlant told me, “Every time she heard the Gospel lesson she would respond, ‘Oh – that is beautiful.’” I can hear her saying it even now. The Gospel is beautiful.
And dear friends, Hilma is now reunited with our Lord, and with Clayton, with Marlayne, with her parents and brothers and sisters and everyone who has gone before us and died in the faith. And there will come a time when she will hear the voice of Her Savior again. He will say to her, “Come, dear sister and daughter, come and rise up.” And all of the dead in Christ will rise again. Perhaps Job put it best so long ago when he wrote,
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
The day is coming, beloved, when Christ will come again. Until that time, we weep at losing Hilma. She has been our companion and friend and mother and grandmother for many years. But we weep with hope. Because Christ is risen from the dead, Hilma will rise as well. It is okay. Jesus Himself wept at the death of His friend, Lazarus. But weep with hope. Your weeping will come to an end. This world will be left behind. There will be joy and rest that only He can give us.
So rest well, Hilma. Rest until we are reunited again with Him in heaven. Rest well, until we rise again with you.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.