Funeral Sermon: Louise Clamme
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Delivered By
Pr. David Fleener
Delivered On
March 31, 2018 at 11:15 AM
Central Passage
Luke 24:36-48
Funeral of Louise Clamme

Pr. David Fleener

Sermon: Funeral of Louise Clamme – March 31, 2018

Revelation 21:1-7, Luke 24:36-48


              Not long after I began my pastorate here, seven-and-a-half years ago, Louise scheduled an appointment with me, wondering if I wanted to learn about the history of the church and of some of the families here. Of course, I agreed. And during that hour, she gave me quite the overview of the congregation, and especially of her family. I already knew that the web of relationships in this congregation was large and complex, just from the joking comments I heard during the call process, “You know you can’t say anything bad about us, Pastor, because we’re all related to each other!” But I didn’t realize just how tangled and complex a web it was until Louise sat down in my office that day.


              We all know about Louise’s passion for history, especially for its “dusty bits and pieces”, as two of her books are titled. She had a knack for unearthing obscure, fascinating little stories in the local papers about our congregation and the hard-headed Germans that immigrated here. She often photocopied the stories she thought I would find interesting. Once, she came up to me after worship, and handed me a folder. She smiled and said, “Now Pastor, don’t think that you have to do this, too!” It was a report on the Lutheran pastor’s visitation records, which reported that the pastor had visited 350 households that year!


              But Louise was not merely an observer or documenter of history. No, she was and is also part of history – the history of God and God’s people. From the time of her baptism, she has been part of that sacred story that continues to unfold. Jesus mentions this sacred story in our Gospel reading today. After proving the physical reality of his resurrection by eating a piece of fish, Jesus reminds his disciples, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you – that everything written about me in the Law from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” God’s story – and the story of God’s people, including Louise, is fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Everything in the history of God’s people, both in the words of Scripture and the stories of our lives, points to our final redemption and renewal, when all the old things – mourning, crying, and pain – pass away – and the heavens and earth are made new.


              And Louise shares in the fulfillment of her story now. For Louise, the Resurrection is already a reality. She has left our realm of time, where we, the church militant, still soldier on. But Louise is now part of the church triumphant. And she is part of that church triumphant not because of how special or unique she was (though she was certainly special and unique). She is part of that church because of God’s grace, love, and mercy alone. As a teacher of many a catechism class, few understood that better than Louise. Because of God’s love for Louise, and for us, she and we have a sure and certain hope in a life with God that never ends.


              Though we mourn today, we trust in God the Father, who always keeps promises. We trust in the Christ, who has changed our hearts and given us forgiveness. We trust in the Spirit, the breath of life within each of us, which will respire in each of us again, forever.


              As one of our hymns in our new hymnal goes: "All of us go down to the dust, yet even in the grave we make our song. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia." 


              Thanks be to God. Amen.