A Table Prepared For Lou, Against The Enemy Of Death

Photo by: www.serenityrichard.com

The following is posted with family permission.  May the Lord give to the family of Lou Haussler and to all who mourn, comfort in their grief and a sure confidence in the Lord's loving care. 

Funeral Service Sermon Text: Psalm 23:1-6

To Him who loves us and has washed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.

You have enemies. 

I have enemies.

Lou had enemies.

What enemies am I talking about?  I am talking about the enemies of sin, satan, and death.  These enemies that burden the conscious, accuse the forgiven, attack faith, and bring us to dust and ashes.

While we all experience attacks from these enemies on a daily basis, Corrine, Rick, Terry, and Cindy, you however have become somewhat familiar with the enemy of death as of late. Undeniably the enemy of death has become a familiar foe to you as it has visited your family.  For weeks the shadow of death has encroached over your household as it leaned inward upon Lou.  Its darkness crept in casting sorrow over your hearts.  For weeks it brought a chilling effect and attempted to sap all joy and assurance from you.  For weeks it came against Lou and put him in the hospital and eventually at home with hospice. 

The enemies of sin, satan, and death are truly a menace to all of us here today.  We all have that in common. Even if we are in good health, the enemy of death (which is called the last enemy) still brings about a heavy weight upon the living. 

As a result of death intruding upon us, we are all driven to defend ourselves.  It was this way for David in the twenty-third Psalm as well.  David, who wrote Psalm twenty-three, had enemies; we have enemies as well.  As a result, we all want and need to be defended from our enemies, especially the dark valley of the shadow of death. 

As a result, our Psalm from today states that the Lord defended David from his enemies.  Thankfully this is also true for you and me as well.  The Lord defends us from our enemies.
We should think that in order to defend us that the Lord would prepare a mighty wall or a strong fortification or a deep moat or armor or possibly give us weapons that have to do with battle—anything that would help us fight against the enemy of death.  But rather than building a barrier against death and rather than granting weapons to us to fight death, the Lord defends us in a most unique way.  That unique way is by preparing a table before us against our enemies. 

Do you hear this?  In the midst of enemies—these enemies with their threats and attacks—the Lord prepares a magnificent banquet to bountifully feed you. No need to fight your enemies.  No need build barriers to keep the enemies at bay.  Indeed, even though it is in our inclination to want to actively fight our enemies, the Lord simply invites us to come without any danger, without any cares of life, without trouble and work—to come and sit at a table to eat, drink, and be merry.  That’s right, surrounded by enemies we sit down to this table with confidence, knowing that we shall feast in perfect security as the Lord fights for us.

Dear friends, don’t you see that sin, satan, and death are raging insane lunatics that bring about condemnation, terror, and fear?  Yet, despite these enemies and their exaggerated threats, the Lord has prepared a table for you in the midst of this chaos.  At the table He bids you to come and rest in security.  This table is a metaphor, an emblem of perfect hospitality and trust.  At this table you eat and drink and rejoice and sit and rest in God’s Word for you, all while you are given strength and comfort.  Even when the enemies of sin, satan, and death rage and rant violently against you, you can feel at ease for you can rest at the Lord’s table as the Good Shepherd stands at your side. 

Hear this today and now:

The Lord is for you. 

He is your strength and might. 

You shall not fear evil. 

He has atoned for you sins. 

He has defeated satan. 

He has overcome death. 

All of this for you. 

Rest at the table prepared for you my friends.

This was also true for our beloved brother Lou.  As Lou’s physical life slowly ebbed away, the Good Shepherd Jesus stood beside Lou.  As the strength in Lou’s body faded, the Lord prepared a table for Him.

You see, when Lou was asked in the hospital if he wanted communion, his immediate response was, “Why wouldn’t I want it?”  This my friends is the voice of faith, faith that was given to Lou; faith that dines at the Lord’s Table in the midst of the enemies of sin, satan, and death.  Truly, in the presence of the enemies of sin, satan, and death, Jesus prepared a table for Lou.  In the midst of a hospital and while on hospice, Jesus fed Lou with His body and His blood in the Holy Supper. 

There is no doubt about it that the shadow of death encroached over Lou; however, the Lord defended Lou by bringing him to the table to feast upon heavenly bread and wine—His body and His blood—which strengthened faith, delivered forgiveness, established security, granted peace, and established comfort for Lou. 

Furthermore, Jesus anointed Lou’s head with the oil of forgiveness by the power of the Spirit.  Lou’s cup overflowed, filled to the brim and more with the love, forgiveness, and life of Jesus the Good Shepherd. 

What does this mean for Lou?  It means that he has passed from this vale of tears to the presence of Jesus. 
It means that he no longer suffers from the attacks of the enemies of sin, satan, and death.

Lou is with Jesus, waiting for the resurrection of the dead on the Last Day.  On that day, he will be resurrected, body and soul joined together again.  His heart will pump forever without skipping a beat or fading in strength.  He will join the heavenly chorus singing a new song to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  He also has an invitation to another table, another feast, another supper.  But this supper will not be eaten in the presence of enemies but will be eaten in the presence of victory.  Yes, Lou has an invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb, a supper that he will eat with you who are in Christ. 

What does this mean for you?  What comfort can you take away from all this?  Well, Jesus did not die on the cross just for Lou.  The Lord’s Supper is not just for Lou either.  Jesus died so that you too may have an invitation to the supper of the Lamb.  He died so that you too may rise from the dead to eternal life.  He died, forgiving you of all of your sins and then delivers that forgiveness to you in your baptisms and sustains you in the midst of the enemies of life by gifting you his body and blood at the Holy Supper.[1]

Today is not the end for those who believe in Jesus Christ.  We shall all see Lou again.  Even though he will not be present physically in our midst at the Lord’s Supper on Sundays, we do know that we will partake with him at the supper of the Lamb, when we are taken from this vale of tears unto the Lord where there will be no more grief, sorrow, pain, sin, and evil.  Therefore our grief today is not the same as those who have no hope.  We grieve as those who will be apart for a while.  We do not grieve as those who will never see each other again though.  We grieve as people who have hope, hope in the resurrection of the dead and hope looking forward to the great marriage feast of the Lamb of God, the table prepared for us by Jesus Christ. 

Now may the Lord of peace Himself, Jesus Christ, firmly establish you at the table He has prepared for you in the presence of your enemies, and give you peace, hope, and courage always in every way until He graciously takes you from this vale of tears to Himself into heaven. Amen.

[1] James T. Batchelor, “In Memorium: Charles Henry Schultz,” LCMS Sermons, http://lcmssermons.com/index.php?sn=3905 (Accessed June 6, 2015). 

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