Home > Funerals, Sermons, The Righteous Perisheth > In Memoriam + Mildred F. “The Desires of Thine Heart”

In Memoriam + Mildred F. “The Desires of Thine Heart”


Der-Auferstandene_1558In Memoriam + Mildred  (Sept. 3, 1912-December 7, 2012)

C H S Funeral Home

Psalm 37:4, Isaiah 57 (1-2, 14-15), Philippians 1: (20-23), St. Luke 2 (25-32)

December 11, 2012

 

Alberta, Diane, and all of Mildred’s flesh and blood, who allow us to add our tears and our joy to yours,

 

You members of St. Peter Church, who have been Mildred’s co-workers in Christ during these years of her pilgrimage, with whom I have been allowed to walk for a short time,

 

And everyone here today who gives thanks to God for the life of Mildred, in whom He showed us His grace and kindness, and His eagerness to bless us richly without asking about our worthiness or our faults;

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

God’s word for our comfort this morning is drawn from all three of the readings, but in particular this verse which was given to Mildred at her confirmation in 1926:

 

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

 

1.        The desires of the heart of unbelievers and the sinful flesh

A.  Unbelievers want

            i.  Happiness, comfort, success, family

            ii.  They want to live in order to pursue these pleasures.  When they can no longer get them

                 they no longer want to live.

 

B.  Christians may desire all these things also.

           i.   But they don’t always get them.

           

                        a. Most women want children—Mildred had none.

                        b. She was poor and a widow for many years.

 

C.  Christians desire above these things to serve Jesus and do His will; that “Christ be glorified in my body, whether by life or by death.”

             i. And the flesh of Christians constantly battles against this desire of the Holy Spirit.

ii.  Through affliction we learn to love Christ and the forgiveness of sins through HIs blood more than the

desires and will of our flesh.

 2.        The desires of the heart of a mature Christian

A.  Paul is torn:

            He desires to be with Christ, which is far better.

            He desires the blessing of other Christians through his ongoing service to them as an

            apostle.

 

B.  By far, the better lot is to depart and be with Christ. 

            i.  We are spared griefs.

                        Isaiah 57 The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken

                        away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; 2 he

                        enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness.

 

 

We are free from the flesh which leads us into sin, harms our conscience, tempts us to

                  grieve the Holy Spirit.

           

               a.   Thus we are free to see the Lord Jesus in His glory and serve Him

                      without  interruption

               b.   This is perfect freedom.  To serve Christ forever is to rest in Him forever.

       iii.  We are dismissed and given rest from our labors.

                                  a.  (Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.)

b.  Christian life is an arduous combat and labor against the flesh and the devil.

  The desires of our hearts are granted—our joy and life and comfort, Jesus, is ours

              forever.

Thus God shall from all evil Forever make us free,

                           From sin and from the devil, From all adversity,

                           From sickness, pain, and sadness, From troubles, cares, and fears,

                           And grant us heavenly gladness And wipe away our tears. (Johann Walther, 1552, TLH 67, st.

C.   Mildred expressed this desire to depart and be with Christ.

i.  The Friday before she died, at the hospital, before she asked for and received Christ’s body and blood, she said,

“I’m ready to be with the Lord.”  Then so quickly she received “what is better by far.”

 

      ii.  Story Mildred had cut out of a church newsletter and had with her things in her room:Two

     old women were sitting side-by-side in their rocking chairs when one said to the other, “I’m

     getting so old all my friends in Heaven are going to think I didn’t make it.”

iii.  The Lord made her wait in this longing for 100 years; He made her do fruitful labor, serving me and you by her

example of patience and trust in Christ.

D.  Now at last she has received the reward Christ promised her in the Gospel.

 3.        But who can have this confident desire to be dismissed–to die? 

 A.  There are not many with such faith.

       i. After all we often do not delight in the Lord.

                        a. We love other things,

                        b.  Or we complain about our crosses and burdens.

                        c. (After it all, Mildred had to wait 100 years for the blessed reward.)

 

            ii.  Bad conscience makes it impossible to serve God–  

                        a.  If I am not sure that God is pleased with me, how can I bear burdens? 

                             How can I wait?  How can I serve those who do not repay good with evil?

 

                        b.  And how can God be pleased with me when so often my delight is not in the Lord

                             but the desires of my heart are to accomplish my own plans, forgetting the will of 

                             God?

 

B.  But God dwells with the contrite, to restore them

       i.  As often as you see your heart running after its own plans, not seeking that Christ        ‘

           be glorified whether by your life or death, acknowledge your sinful nature and confess it to

           the Lord.

       ii.   15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I

               dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive

               the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.

                I struck him; I hid my face and was angry, but he went on backsliding in the way of his own

               heart. 18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him… Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says

               the Lord, “and I will heal him.

iii.  The Lord who is seated at the right hand of the Father, who is King and Lord of all creation, dwells with

sorrowful sinners, whose wicked hearts constantly go astray.  He will dwell with us who fear God’s wrath but

find our hearts full of delight in our own plans but cold in love toward the Lord.

 C.  Take the God who dwells with the lowly and the sinners and say, “He is my salvation.”

            i.  The little baby who Simeon took in his arms and over Whom he rejoiced.

            ii.  Seize Him in the Word.  Here Simeon’s child is set before our eyes as our salvation, the

salvation of disobedient hearts.

                 (a week or so before she died she said: I’m in Job—which she was reading with a       

                  magnifying glass because she couldn’t see.  Look how the Lord gave her a courageous

                  heart through meditation on Scripture)

 

           iii.  Seize the Holy God who dwells with lowly sinners in Baptism. 

                  a.  Let no one and nothing cause you to doubt His promise in Baptism.  It is because   

                       our hearts are treacherous and enslaved to sin that Jesus died for us and planted us

                       into His death and resurrection in baptism, purifying our hearts by faith.  If you could

                       make your heart clean you would have had no need for Baptism.

                   b.  Here Mildred was given  the Lord’s oath 3 days after she was born in 1912 that she

                         was righteous in His sight, despite her treacherous heart, and that He would bring

                         forth her righteousness as the noonday (ps 37:5?). 

                    c.  This promise will be fulfilled gloriously when Jesus comes in splendid glory and

                         raises this body to be united with Him forever.

           iv.  Believe firmly that you have the forgiveness of sins through Christ and do not believe that

He rejects you because of the ongoing unbelief and coldness of your heart.

            v.   Claim him as your own, like Simeon. 

                      a.  Jesus was not his baby, but he took him up in his old arms. 

                       b.  “My eyes have seen your salvation.” 

                              1. He was saying, “This baby, God’s Son and the woman’s son, is mine.  I am        

                                  unworthy, but You have promised Him to me. So I must rejoice in Him and       

                                  not call you a liar.”

                               2. “He is my rest and my dismissal to go and labor no more.”

                             c. Jesus, priceless Treasure, Fount of purest pleasure,

                                Truest Friend to me!

                                Ah, how long in anguish Shall my spirit languish,

                                Yearning, Lord, for Thee?

                              Thou art mine, O Lamb divine! I will suffer naught to hide Thee,

                              Naught I ask beside Thee. 

(Johann Franck, 1650.  LSB 743)

 

D.  Taking Him as your own even while your heart is tugged by self-seeking, you will have Paul’s confidence that Christ will be glorified in you by life or by death.

i.  Then, if you remain on earth, it means fruitful labor and service to your neighbor.

(Mildred served us just by coming to church and receiving communion.  Just by going on living in faith and

bearing her cross with patience.)

ii.  And if you die, it is gain.

E.  We rejoice in Mildred’s gain.

i.  Let us not rejoice half-heartedly, but with confidence.  This is promised by Jesus to sinners.  So it is sure.

ii.   In Thine arms I rest me; Foes who would molest me

              Cannot reach me here.

              Though the earth be shaking, Every heart be quaking,

              Jesus calms my fear.

             Lightnings flash And thunders crash;

             Yet, though sin and hell assail me,

             Jesus will not fail me.   (LSB 743, stanza 2) 

iii.  It is pledged to us in the sacrament of Jesus’ body and blood, where, in days to come we will eat and drink at

Jesus’ table with Mildred present.  She will not be in the pew but among the choir of the eternally blessed.  The

Lord gave her the desire of her heart.  But the new song to the Lamb which is sung forever in heaven is sung

also by the Church on earth.  When we eat the one bread and drink the one cup of the Lord and are one loaf and

one body, we are not separate from Mildred and the other beloved Christians who are with Jesus.  The worship in

heaven and the worship on earth is one; the Church in heaven and the Church on earth is one; the Lamb on

the throne and the Lamb on the altar is one; and the new song to the Lamb sung in heaven is sung by the Church

on earth.  It is the delight of the church, because it is the song of everlasting life overflowing into this age of death.

                                 Hence, all fear and sadness!  For the Lord of gladness,

                                 Jesus, enters in.

                                 Those who love the Father, Though the storms may gather,

                                 Still have peace within.

                                Yea, whate’er I here must bear, Thou art still my purest Pleasure,

                                Jesus, priceless Treasure! (LSB 743 st. 6)

Amen.

The peace of God which passes understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

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