Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled
Grace, Mercy and Peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The word of God for our comfort and strength is taken from John chapter fourteen. Saint John wrote, “1Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Dear Family and Friends of Charles, especially you Nancy and his children.
“Let not your hearts be troubled.” That’s easy to say when everything is going well. On the day of a wedding, when a child is born healthy, when a special anniversary is celebrated, our hearts are full of happiness and joy. But when a special person in our life dies our hearts are troubled. Death has taken Charles from us.
We have gathered with heavy hearts to mourn the death of a devoted husband, a loving father, and a proud grandfather. He is no longer here to write little post-it notes or to give out gold medals. We will no longer hear him call his children by number. He will not hear you call him captain again. I will no longer see Charles and Nancy come in 5 minutes late for Sunday morning service.
Our hearts are troubled by the loneliness his death brings into our lives. We have come seeking some comfort for our hearts. We have come seeking strength from each other. We look for some joy as we share with each other stories about Charles and how he interacted with each of us. The stories you tell help to lighten your hearts as you remember his love of family and country, his humor, and his love of sailing
In the midst of our sorrow we rejoice that we have so many memories of how the Lord used Charles to bless us and others. It is a time to weep and a time to laugh.
There is of course a much greater source of comfort and strength for us today. Jesus tells us why our hearts should not be anxious about Charles or about our own lives. He said, 1aBelieve in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
Jesus knows how much we will miss this man who was part of our lives. He knows the feeling of emptiness we have right now. Jesus sees the tears in our eyes and has experienced the emotions we are feeling today. He knows that we are tempted to think that death has won a victory.
When death seems to have won, Jesus is here to tell us that in him there is victory over death and the grave. When Martha was mourning the death of her brother, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believe in me will never die.” Jn. 11:25-26
Who is this Jesus who speaks about living even though we die? Who is this Jesus who Paul tells us makes us conquerors even in death. Who is this Jesus who is here to comfort and strengthen us as we mourn? In Matthew chapter 16 we hear Saint Peter tell us that Jesus is “the Christ, the son of the Living God.” Matt. 16:16
Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth so that Charles Eugene Schott did not need to fear death. Jesus came so that Charlie could be sure that nothing, not even death could separate him from the love of God. This is the faith that Charles confessed to be true. Charles believed that “God did not send his son into the world to condemn Charles, but in order that Charles might be saved through Jesus Christ.”
“Let not your hearts be troubled.” When we met to plan today’s service this passage from John chapter fourteen was chosen because it reminded the family of words that Charlie spoke. “Don’t play the small stuff” he would say. The small stuff, things of this world can certainly make us anxious, troubled, and seem bigger and more important than life itself.
The truly big stuff starts with this, the Son of God took on flesh and blood for you. He came to live a perfect life, a life without sin, as your substitute. Jesus suffered and died on a cross as a sacrifice for you. He carried your sins to the cross so that your debt would be paid in full.
Jesus who died for the sins of the whole world died and rose from the dead for you. The empty tomb is God’s message to you that the sacrifice of Jesus takes away your sins and gives you a robe of Christ’s righteousness.
Jesus said, “It is finished!” Those words mean that by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus, we are “more than conquerors” over sin and all its consequences. We are conquerors over death and eternal separation from God because Jesus Christ has won for us the victory over death and the grave.
The empty tomb of Jesus tells us that our tomb will also be empty when Jesus comes again to reunite our body with our soul. Nothing not even physical death can separate us from the love of God that comes to us through faith in Jesus Christ and what he has done for us.
What Greater Faith
What greater comfort can all of us have than to know that by God’s grace through faith in Jesus, Charles was covered with Christ’s righteousness? Charles was given the gift of faith at his baptism. Charles was claimed as one of God’s dear children.
That faith continued to grow as Charles heard and confessed over and over again the good news about Jesus. Charlie was given the promise that when Jesus comes again his body will be raised from the grave and reunited with his soul that now rests with Christ.
There is no greater comfort than to know that our sins are forgiven and that we too have the promise of eternal life. Saint Paul tells us “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor powers, nor height nor death, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 8:38-39
“Let not your heart be troubled” for Jesus Christ came to be the way, the truth, and the life for Charles and you.”
In the name of Jesus. Amen.