Funeral of Ethlyn Gosnell
October 25, 2019 AD
This morning we gather to give thanks to God for the life of our dear sister in Christ, Ethlyn Gosnell, and to commend her soul into the hands of our heavenly Father, trusting not in our merits but in the merits of Jesus Christ our Savior, who, at His glorious coming again to judge the living and the dead, will change our lowly body and make it like His glorious body, using that power which enables Him to subdue all things to Himself.
In the Apostles Creed which we just joined in saying we confess our faith in “the resurrection of the body” and later, at the cemetery we shall pray, “May God the Father who created this body. May God the Son who by His blood redeemed this body together with the soul. May God the Holy Spirit who by Baptism sanctified this body to be His temple keep these remains unto the day of the resurrection of the body.” And so these earthly remains which now lie before us in the bonds of death will at the Last Day be raised in glory by the Savior whom the cross could not daunt nor the grave contain.
St. John the Beloved Disciple put it so simply: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, but it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
The human mind cannot fully understand, human words can never fully express the joy of that final resurrection morning. For “eye had not seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” According to her soul, Ethlyn already enjoys that sweet peace, that quiet rest, as we sing “sweet is the calm of paradise the blest” but then go right on to sing, “but lo there breaks a yet more glorious day, the saints triumphant rise in bright array.” And so Ethlyn, together with all who have fallen asleep in Christ, and with all who now in the is life trust and hope in Him look forward to that “yet more glorious day,” as we believe in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”
Many of you knew Ethlyn for a very long time. I’ve known her for only six years But I must truthfully say that – until these last few very difficult months of her life – I always came away from every visit with Ethlyn cheered and encouraged by the delight she took in life, her deep interest in the life of our congregation, by the grace with which she bore the infirmities, and by her simple gratitude for the Holy Sacrament of her Savior’s true body and blood. I think that, like the blessed mother of our Lord, she “rejoiced in God her Savior.” But it became clear to me in these last months that she was quite simply tired and wanting to go home. I think that some verses of Psalm 116 express it so well. The psalmist says to himself, “Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I WILL walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”
May she rest in peace and rise in glory!