Psalm 71:17-19 O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to all the generations to come. Your power and your righteousness, O God, reach the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?
Who is like God? Who can say let there be light, and there is light? Who can say, Let the earth bring forth vegetation, and so bring plants into existence? Who can create man out of the dust of the ground, and breath into them the breath of life? Who is like God, who has not only created all things, by the power of his word – but also sustains all things, giving to each, daily exactly what is needed. And who if they had such power to do such things, would do these things even for the sinners who rebel against him? For while there is much we can say of God’s power and might, it is God’s grace and mercy which give us comfort, and the love, with which he loves us that gives us hope. And we have this because of God’s greatest gift, the gift of His Son, to be our Savior – and that is why we gather this day in Jesus name – to hear again of the hope which is in Jesus Christ our Savior.
These days, it has become common to talk about issues of quality of life, it sounds very important. These days, many believe that a life where they cannot do what they want to do, and go where they want to go, is not worth living. It seems that we forget, that when we entered life, it began in our mother’s womb, and we were not in control, and we could not travel far. When we were born, there was some progress, a larger world, but still we were not in control – at first there was only so far we could crawl, and after we began to walk, others set limits. And when all seemed ready for the frontiers to open, we were sent to school, and others governed our day once more. In time we grew up, a began a family of our own, and we did not consider the quality of our life, wasn’t always the quality of the lives of others, our spouse, our children, our grandchildren.
If you look at a whole life, you soon see, that we have rarely been in control of anything – and if there is one issue that has mattered from beginning till the end – it has been the quaintly of God’s grace and mercy. At life’s end we may not be in control, and sometimes we may wonder why we are here – and though the world has no answer – God’s word does have an answer, for we remain so that we may give witness to God’s grace and mercy to the generations that follow – so they may know that when we live by grace through faith in Jesus Christ – nothing is lacking, and not only that, but that all our days, are days with purpose – and that purpose is telling the story of God’s grace and mercy to us in Jesus Christ.
If the only hope, was to live a good life – there would be no hope at all. When we were young we did not always obey our parents. When we grew older, we were not always a good example – from birth till death there has been sin – which is why we focus not on the good life we have led, but on the quality of God’s mercy, that is – that there is forgiveness of sins for us and for all in the blood of Jesus Christ – this is our hope for today, for tomorrow – and for eternal life.
Throughout our lives, God works to teach us – both what he expects, and also what he offers us in Jesus our Savior. We take comfort this day, in the good word – that our hope of heaven does not rest on what we have done, but on what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. We take comfort in the witness of Irma, of how God has been with here from the beginning till all eternity. We ask God to comfort us, at this time of parting, with the promise of the resurrection of the dead, and the hope of a blessed reunion. We thank God for the work and the witness of Irma, and for all she has meant to us. But chiefly we thank God for the quality of his mercy.
Sometimes we are misdirected – sometimes we may loose our way – sometimes we may loose sight of those things which are important. It is the quality of God’s mercy, that he comes to gather us, to show us the way, the truth and the life…. It is the quality of God’s mercy, that he does not give us what we deserve, but gives us what we need… It is the quality of God’s mercy, that brings us to ask the question who is like God – who can love us so deeply, and give us so much, who is more like a parent – teaching us how to raise our children as he raises up us to be his children, in his mercy, by grace through faith in Christ Jesus.