Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Helma Conrad

Zion Ev. Lutheran Church
10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733
A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42

Funeral Service for Helma Conrad
Born 11.15.1924
Baptized 11.23.1924
Confirmed in the Faith 4.17.1938
With Christ in Peace 3.31.2017
Committal 4.5.2017

 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”–Romans 1:16

Jesus! And shall it ever be,
A Mortal man ashamed of Thee?
Ashamed of Thee, whom angels praise,
Whose glories shine through endless days?

Ashamed of Jesus, that dear Friend
On whom my hopes of heav’n depend?
No; when I blush, be this my shame,
That I no more revere His name.

Ashamed of Jesus? Yes, I may
When I’ve no guilt to wash away,
No tear to wipe, no good to crave,
No fear to quell, no soul to save.[1]

Death is so limited…
It has not crippled love,
It has not shattered hope,
It has not corroded faith,
It has not eaten away peace
   Nor destroyed confidence

It has not killed friendship,
It has not shut out memories,
It has not silenced courage,
It has not invaded the soul,
   Nor reduced eternal life.

It has not quenched the Spirit,
It cannot, has not,
   Nor will not lessen the power of the resurrection![2]

Helma Conrad. What thoughts come to mind as you remember her? How might she be described? She was…Quiet…A trusted neighbor…She had a weed free garden…Always! She was given to hospitality. Against her sister’s protests, (Armilla in particular) she would befriend and feed any stray cat that entered the yard! 

She had a dedicated devoted employment history. Rarely seen these days.  She worked as a secretary at General Electric for 46 years. Beginning in 1943. And retiring in 1989.  She had a sweet and gentle spirit…

She was, in a word, faithful. Faithful to her family. Faithful to this community. Faithful to her Lord and Savior. Our Communion record indicates that she was committed to receive the Lord’s Supper every time it was offered. She rarely missed a service. When additional services were added in addition to the regular Sunday service; intended for those who could not make it on Sunday, Helma would be in attendance! 

No, she was not a Martha. She emulated Mary. Who sat at the feet of Jesus. Listening and learning of Him. (Luke 10:39)    She held God’s Word sacred. She would gladly hear it, learn it, and meditate upon Christ’s blessed word.

In this very room, on the day of her confirmation, Pr. Werning spoke these words of Scripture over her - “ .–Romans 1:16

These words defined her life!   They were clear and would suit her well.  Paul reminds us, “I am not ashamed of the gospel. She knew of its power. It is the Holy Spirit who calls each of us by the Gospel. Through that word, the Spirit invited Helma drawing her to Him by the Gospel to partake of the spiritual blessings that were hers in Christ. 

St. Paul would simply remind us, “To this He called you through our gospel.” (2 Thessalonians 2:14) And in the Lord’s Revelation to John, we are reminded, “The Spirit of the Bride say, ‘Come” And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” (Revelation 22:17)

And through this Gospel, the Spirit, enlightened Helma with His gifts.  He gave her the saving knowledge of Jesus her Savior, so that she could trust, rejoice, and find comfort in Him.

And the comfort which Helma knew is yours also this day! For we live in a broken world, which is often defined by grief and loss.    Death we are told is the last enemy. There is no glamour in any part of its process. It is a thief coming to take away all we have known. But precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. For the believer, death is only a transition. It is a gate, which leads to eternal life. Because of Jesus, we pass from death to life. Thus, we can say with David, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15)

God is not silent when we suffer loss. On every page of Scripture, God's children have been able to find hope and a reason to endure. Paul assures us, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV)

God hasn't promised to explain everything about what He does and what He allows. Yet He understands. You are not alone. If we know anything about God, we know that He comes close to those who suffer grief, so keep your eyes open for Him.

Helma knew the Savior’s voice. Now she sees His face. 

This service is for the living. –Helma Conrad was given the opportunity to live her life. – We continue on. - Life will be different. – There shall be a new sense of “normal” in your routines. - But we walk by faith. – Until that day comes, in your own life, when Jesus will call you from this world to a world that has no end. – From an earthly kingdom – to a heavenly kingdom – From a place which is limited. To a place that is beyond time and space. May the Savior so walk with you until we are re-united with those who have gone before us.
Till then – nor is my boasting vain-
Till then I boast a Savior slain;
And oh, may this my glory be,
That Christ is not ashamed of me![3]

[1] Jesus, and Shall It Ever Be, selected stanzas The Lutheran Hymnal © 1942 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[2] Poem’s Use Adapted © Common Domain
[3] Jesus! And Shall It Ever Be, stanza six, The Lutheran Hymnal, © 1942 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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