Securely Wrapped In Christ

Text: Isaiah 61:1-3, 10

In the name of Jesus.  Amen.

The longer you live in this world, the more sorrows you will accumulate.  

The longer you live in this world, the more heartbreak you will know.  

The longer you live in this world, the more you will fail.  

And so, life has a way of beating a person up.  Whether it is emotional, physical, or mental blows, we have a way of getting quite scuffed up in this life.  Furthermore, all of us have figuratively fallen into the mud of life, as well as scrapped our knees through our own personal sins and knocked our heads against foolish decisions.  In a word, life is rough.  It is hard.  Life is even more difficult when big things drop upon us, things like cancer and death itself.

And so, the point being, the totality of life in this vale of tears seems to be one big tumble down the stairs. It is enough for you and me to want to toss the towel in – to call it quits.  

Now, it doesn’t help today to be at a funeral.  Funerals sometimes have a way of making everything worse.  Funerals pile on additional sorrow to people who are already saturated by sorrow.   For example, never again in this age of the world will you look into the eyes of Lynn or hear his voice speak.  Never again will you feel the touch of his hands or hear his stories.  Never again will you hear his laughter.  This is the bitter part of death.  

But today, despite everything that life throws at you and me – despite the pain and sorrow over the loss of Lynn… there is joy.  Yes, you heard that correctly - joy.


Yesterday, during one of the services here at St. Paul’s Lutheran, we celebrated the baptism of a little baby.  During the baptismal liturgy, we placed a white garment over the baby, showing that in baptism, the child is clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness that covers all of their sin sins.  

Mavis and the family of Lynn, I would like you to look at Lynn’s casket right now.  What do you notice?  Yes, Lynn is wearing a white garment as well.  He is wearing a funeral pale, which shows us and reminds us that Lynn has been baptized.  We could say that the white garment that Lynn is wearing is the same white garment that the child received yesterday because the gift of baptism holds us from birth to death. That is right; Lynn is clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness that covers all of his sins.  On July 27th of 1941, the Lord God snatched Lynn unto Himself and clothed Him in Christ's salvation; now, in death, He holds Lynn still.  You see, right now, 

in death, God the Father (who created Lynn) does not see Lynn with all his scuffs, bruises, and scraps from this tough life that we all endure.  Instead, God the Father sees a perfect, clean, righteous saint.  Yes, you heard that correctly: Lynn is a saint.

But doesn’t it take five years to be declared a saint?  Doesn’t a person need a verified miracle and heroic virtue to receive the title of saint?  I mean no disrespect when I say this: being a saint is not about how much a person does, but it is about who a person belongs to.  In other words, when a person is wrapped in the garments of salvation, they are a saint.  

Listen for a moment to the selected Old Testament reading from Isaiah.  Isaiah says, 

“I rejoice greatly in the Lord, I exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness...”

As Christians, we are not viewed by God with all of our scuffs, bruises, and mud from this life.  Instead, the Lord God dresses us with salvation.  He wraps us in righteousness.  That garment we speak of is the gift of Christ for you, me, and especially Lynn.  Hear this clearly right now: in Holy Baptism, the radiant righteousness of Jesus cleansed Lynn of all of his sins and covered him in complete and total holiness.  And so, because Jesus wrapped his accomplished forgiveness and grace around Lynn, Lynn is a saint.  

Dear friends, when we have Christ – actually, let me rephrase that… when Christ has us, we have the Light of the world.  When Christ has us, we have His righteousness, forgiveness, and the antidote for eternal death.  Because of Jesus' death and resurrection on behalf of Lynn and because of Lynn’s baptismal connection to Christ’s death and resurrection, Lynn rests in peace right now.  In fact, hear this loud and clear: on the last day, Jesus will indeed raise all flesh, which means that He will not abandon Lynn to the grave but will raise this body – the one right before us.  And Lynn?  He will stand and live again but without fear and without the scuffs, bruises, and mud from this life.  Lynn will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive the inheritance prepared for Him from the foundation of the world.  

And so, today, amid our grief, we simultaneously have joy.   We have joy because Lynn has God’s favor through Christ – not vengeance.  We have joy during and through our grief because we await with Lynn a majestic crown, not ashes.  We have joy amid grief because, through Christ, we have the garment of forgiveness, life, and salvation, not a garment of shame, despair, and death.  We have joy in one hand because Lynn is clothed in Christ - marked as one of the redeemed - and will truly be resurrected on the last day, and at the same time, in the other hand, we hold grief, sorrow, and tears because he will be missed.  

Perhaps the words of the Apostle Paul are best for this time.  Let me paraphrase the Apostle Paul along with all that we have heard thus far: 

We need not carry on with frantic fear as so many do at the time of death.  Instead, we can cry holy tears of love – for Lynn – while at the same time having a bold hope that Lynn is wrapped in Christ and will be resurrected on the last day.  

Mavis and the family of Lynn, very soon, we will lay Lynn to rest in a holy grave to await the resurrection.  But his rest in the grave will be only a little while.  For Christ will soon raise Lynn and all of us to newness of life, where He will make all things anew.  As we wait, though, rest in the garments of Christ and His grace for you.  Rest in the salvation that holds you and Lynn today and forevermore.      

In the name of Jesus.  Amen. 

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