Friday, February 28, 2014

Sermon for Jason's Service of Witness to the Resurrection

Service of Witness to the Resurrection:  Jason Fuhr         2/23/14
Psalm 139:1-18, 23-24,  I Corinthians 15:1-11, John 14:1-7

The most important word to describe Jason is “Christian”.  We’ll unpack this important name in a moment.  But if we were to survey everyone here, and try to find the phrase that might collectively describe how we knew Jason, it would be “hall of famer”. 

Jason was the only hall of famer that I know.  To enter into a hall of fame, you have to be someone who was known, appreciated, excellent and excellent for a long time.  Jason meets all of those criteria.

Not many people know that Jason was an aspiring author.  He was a master story teller.  One time, at our weekly Bible Study, he told me that he was going to someday write a book, “Nicknames of Bungtown” (Bungtown being an old, locally used nickname for Lambertville).   While he never got to write the book, he told the book.  And we’ve all heard the stories.  “Rug Rat was walking down to the river one day when he saw John Tartersauce out in a boat”  Whenever I would hear stories from Jason, two thoughts would go through my head:   1.  I know this is a true story.  These are real people he is talking about.   2.  Who are these people?  And why didn’t they fight harder for more positive nicknames? 

That many stories departed with Jason is a sad thing and a deep loss for all of us.  But one thing we know:  He told true stories. 

Yes, Jason was a hall of famer.  Yes, he was an author of stories.  But most important, Jason was a Christian.  Jason called Jesus Christ ‘Lord and Savior’.   Right now, Jason is at rest, at peace, at home in paradise.  On the last day, Jason will experience resurrection.  As we state in the Apostle’s Creed:  I believe in the resurrection of the dead.  God will raise him, and all who have died in the Lord.  Jason will give an account of his life. Because of the sacrifice, forgiveness, grace and mercy of Christ, Jason will receive his reward for his service to the Lord.

This is the gospel, God’s good news:   Jesus died for sinners.  Jesus was buried, confirming his death.  Jesus rose from the dead.  Jesus ascended into heaven.  Jesus is in heaven preparing a place for us.  Jesus reigns, giving glory to his heavenly Father.   Scripture foretells of a new heavens and a new earth where the cosmos will experience the fullness and grandeur of God.

In the Christian story, Jesus rose first, the dead will rise on the last day.  They will be raised imperishable, glorious, in God’s power and as a spiritual body.  Jesus, in the resurrection accounts of the gospel, was able to eat, to walk through walls, to be recognized, though not always at first glance.  Jesus rose first, followed on that great day by all those who belong to him.

That is a true story.

The Scripture declares that ‘everyone who has the Lord’s hope in them purifies themselves, just as they are pure’.  Also, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.’

We gather here today to support Irma and Kim, in their grief.  We come to find an appropriate way to express our grief.  But one thing we do not do, is grieve Jason’s position. 

Does anyone not feel he will be richly rewarded by God?  One of the things Jason did better than most of us was understand that God’s good news was meant to be shared beyond the four walls of any sanctuary.  God’s good news is for people.  And so Jason, brought good news into the board meeting, onto the golf course, into the banquet hall or behind the scenes to all different types of people.  The Apostle Paul said that God’s grace was not without effect.  God’s grace came to Jason, and it affected him and his community.  Sharing God’s grace, Jason brought goodness, kindness and wisdom to us.  Jason was wonderful because he was inspired by the Lord’s grace.

That is a true story.

What could the new heavens and new earth look like?  What could Jason’s future be?  Certainly, only God knows.  Imagine with me for a moment something that none of us can possibly conceive.   In the new heavens and new earth,  there is the Fuhr family mansion.  I don’t see a large mansion per say, the glory of the Fuhr’s future home is the landscape.  There is a beautiful back porch with well crafted rocking chairs to sit and enjoy.  The day begins with praise to God and a cup of coffee, watered down to weaken the taste, enjoyed on that back porch, watching the birds feed and play and dance.  The bears that live in heaven will know it is wrong to break bird feeders.  Jason begins his morning work at the lollipop and root beer barrel factory.  He was offered the CEO position, but turned it down, he’d enjoy working right alongside the people.  After lunch, a nice siesta is in order, followed by some exercise.  His afternoon exercise will be two golf holes that are part of the landscape around his mansion.  Now mind you, they don’t require any lawn mowing to be maintained.  They are intricately woven into the fields and trees. forest and paths, with flowers and vegetables and bushes and all kinds of animals all around.  Jason’s afternoon work consists of making frames for the beautiful art that Irma will produce.  Kim comes over for a nice quiet, family dinner.  This is followed by a few friends coming over.  They’ll be time for each of you, but also for new friends.
---the dozen children in Lao who received a prosthetic limb
                   from Jason and Irma
---the student from old Lambertville high, or SHR, that he
 never really got to know well
          ---someone whose life was saved by the rescue squad,
                   supported in part, by his golf tournaments
          ---A family he helped at Christmas through his participation
                   on the Deacon board.
Time for visiting will be followed by a walk down to the community ball park, and since everyone’s there, why not play, or for that matter, why not play two?  You won’t need lights, because the Lord God will be the light of the new heaven and the new earth.   And Jason will worship and glorify God with every word, smile, thought, deed, dance and song. And he, and we, will delight in the glory of God.  And we will worship God, forever, just as God’s light will illumine the cosmos, forever.

Now, imagine something a billion times better than what I’ve described.  The billion times better reality:  That’s a true story.

In conclusion,
You are invited to believe the good news of Jesus Christ and place your faith in the Lord.
Jason’s future is good because he placed his faith in Christ. 
Jason is a child of the living God.
Jason is a follower of Jesus Christ.
Jason modeled for us what it meant to be led, and filled, with the Holy Spirit.

And that, brothers and sisters, is a true and good story.

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