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Funeral Message for David Kaiser

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Funeral Message for David Kaiser

Everybody with a little life experience knows that in many cases parting is sweet sorrow. The experience is so common that we have proverbs to express it. One of which comes from one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays -Romeo and Juliet:

Good night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
that I shall say good night till it be morrow.

 

That experience is not new.  With that experience frequently come tears.  Tears are often a response to grief, to loss, to pain.  Tears can also come from joy and celebration.  Today we meet at the crossroads where the tears of loss and grief meet the tears of celebration.

Death is one of those things in life that almost certainly causes us all to think.  It forces us to be introspective, to examine how we have lived.  It forces us to consider our relationships, and what is truly important to us.  When I spoke with the family earlier this week about where to go with my message today, it was clear that while there is loss and grief, the focus of today will be a day of celebrating a life lived.  David was a man who loved life.  His family was incredibly important to him and was one the things the distinguished him, and helped define who he was as man.   He loved his family, his wife, his kids, his grandkids.  In speaking with family members and friends here in Waseca the last few days, it was unmistakable that David loved his family and friends.  David’s second love in life was the great outdoors.  This too was a common theme that I heard about from nearly everyone I spoke to.  David loved to hunt, he was in his element in his tree stand, worshipping God in the beauty of His creation.  Whether it was on a cold morning, listening to the silence of the woods waiting patiently for a deer, or walking looking for game with family, or out in a boat with worms on the hook, David was loving his Creator when he was out hunting and fishing.  It was his joy.  He loved taking younger family members for a ride on the 4-wheeler.  He faithfully volunteer his time and talents helping people in Hunter Safety courses.  You could take David out of the outdoors, but you couldn’t take the outdoors out of David.  He has left a great legacy in this regard, passing this love onto the next generation of his family..

The verses that kept coming to my mind this week as I talked to David’s family were the beginning of Psalm 42.  It is one many of you may know.  There it says:

PS 42:1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.

  PS 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?

  PS 42:3 My tears have been my food day and night,

  while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"

  PS 42:4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul:

  how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God,

  with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.

  PS 42:5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and 6  my God.

I love this rich example out of scripture, and I think David would have shared in this too.  I love how it talks about both the sorrow and the joy.  Our souls pant for God, the God of the Living Water.  And in what I just read the Psalmist says when our souls pant for God, when we thirst for God, our question is “When can I meet with God?” When can I be with the giver of the Living Water?  Today, we know that David has that answer.  David is freed from his pain, from his broken body and is praising God in heaven above!  While it is a loss to those us of left behind, to David it is a gain.

The New Testament also speaks about our finding joy in times of grief, pain and sorrow.  In John 14 we find Jesus speaking to his disciples about this.  There he says: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going."

    JN 14:5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

    JN 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.

Jesus says this to his disciples just before he is to be crucified.  Christ knew what was coming, yet he told his followers “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in me.”  His reason for saying and believing this is because Christ knew there was something better in store for those who knew him, for those who believed and followed him in faith.  Through Christ the bonds of death have been broken.  Where O death is your victory?  Where O death is your sting?  How beautiful is that?  Through Christ we can be set free!  That indeed is another example of where both tears of grief and joy were appropriate.

The pain of the loss is real, but so is the joy.  Each one of you is here with a story about how David affected your lives.  For some it might be in smaller ways, but for many it was in great ways as a husband, father, grandfather, cousin, uncle and friend.  While it is appropriate for us to grieve, and for that grief to take time to heal, it is also appropriate for us to draw on the good.  We can draw on those memories, the ways we were impacted by a life lived to help us process our grief.  We can look back on times where David was a servant to others, caring for them, teaching them, brightening and enriching their lives.  We can see in him love, through his love for others, through his joy in finding his Creator in creation.  And we can draw from that, and find in it joy and opportunities to praise the Lord even in our loss. 

A wise man once said that the true test of what someone believes is how they live their life and how it impacts others.  David unquestionably had a great impact on many lives, evidenced by all in attendance here today.  From this point, we all have the opportunity to choose how we are going to move forward, how we will choose to live our lives.  We all still have the chance to make a difference, like David made a difference.  A chance to make a difference in this world so that when we too pass from this life, others will reflect on our time here with joy and grief, and not just sorrow.

Because of the joy of David, we can look back on the days of his life with deep gratitude and fond memories.  Because of the goodness of God through Christ, we can experience the forgiveness of sins, we need not fear death, and we can look forward to eternal life in the presence of God.

This hope in the face of death is only found by a personal faith in Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that each person here today will come to experience this hope as you personally accept the gift of God's salvation through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for your sins and who was raised so that you might be set free.  It is my hope that in that you will find your place with your Creator, just as David found his.  Today, we celebrate David Kaiser.

Let us pray:

Benediction:

Now, for us, the living, may the love of friends, the radiance of memory, the fellowship of hope, and the life abundant fill us with all strength and peace, that we may greet the breaking point of tomorrow’s dawn with praise.  Amen.


 

Grave side:

Opening Prayer

Revelation 21:4:  And God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Blessed are they who rear their families in honor and in gentleness, who live courageous and upright lives, who live life in its fullness, do their part, and then when our Lord Jesus Christ calls they retire to find their rest with Him.

Though pain is in the heart, let no one grieve, for here a gentle soul has cast its glow upon us, and like the glory of an autumn sun, has lit the world with kindness through its day, and at the close has gently sunk to rest.

Rather rejoice for that which he has given, the light we know and treasure still within our hearts, a light we trust still shines beyond distant fields and forests for life goes on, and spirit knows no death.

Into your hands, Father of mercy and grace, we commend David in the sure and certain hope that, together with all who have died in Christ, that he will rise with him on the last day."

We have entrusted our brother to God's mercy,
      and now we commit his body to its resting place.

Closing Prayer

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