Friday, October 9, 2020

Darald Pieper


Trinity Ev. Lutheran Church
2505 Indiana Ave.
Lansing, IL 60438

October 10, 2020
Darald Pieper
Jesus, lead Thou on Till our rest is won;
And although the way be cheerless,
We will follow calm and fearless,
Guide us by Thy hand
To our Fatherland.

If the way be drear,
If the foe be near,
Let not faithless fears o’ertake us;
Let not faith and hope forsake us;
For through many a woe
To our home we go.

When we seek relief
From a long felt grief,
When temptations come alluring,
Make us patient and enduring,
Show us that bright shore
Where we weep no more.

Jesus, lead Thou on
Till our rest is won.    
Heav’nly leader, still direct us,
Still support, console, protect us,
Till we safely stand
In our fatherland.[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 of Jesus Christ![2]

Almighty and most merciful God, in this earthly life we endure sufferings and death before we enter into eternal glory. Grant us grace at all times to subject ourselves to Your holy will and to continue steadfast in the true faith to the end of our lives that we may know the peace and joy of the blessed hope of the resurrection of the dead and of the glory of the world to come. – A Prayer in times of affliction and distress.

How might I describe Darald Pieper? As I remember him, he was a man in perpetual motion. Whether he was teaching; jetting back and forth from the classroom to the teacher’s workroom. Back to the classroom. Then back to the workroom. Continuous movement.

I remember him taking off in his passenger van either to a practice, or to ref a game, or to one of his many side-hustle jobs. You best step out of the way. Because he was not stopping. He was a man on a mission, on his way to his next stop. He was a man in continuous motion. He could not nor would he care to stop.

Elder’s meetings at Trinity, Lansing when Darald served were short. He couldn’t sit down. Instead he would pace. – Back and forth he would go; either on the sidelines of the basketball and volleyball court, or in the narthex at church. By the time he had gone back and forth twenty-five times it was time. – To wrap up the sermon. I do believe that in the many times Tammy and I were welcomed in Barb and Darald’s home – Not once did he ever sit down. And it took a trip to Indianapolis to discover that he was –Claustrophobic.

He had strong memories of his roots. York, Nebraska was the place where he was raised; where many of his siblings still lived. He would talk about his time at Seward and at St. John Winfield, where Barb and Darald met and were married.  Or his first call to a school in Cleveland, Ohio which was only but a spring board for him. 

He landed in Lansing and never looked back.  This is the place where he raised his family. Darald had a keen understanding that the past; your experiences, your journey from there to here only offers you the opportunity; a gift, to be completely relevant and current. “This is the day the Lord has made.” “Now is the time.”

Darald taught me a valuable lesson to be present; that you accept each opportunity to live in the moment to engage and connect with people.  For that reason there are countless individuals who were impacted by his ministry; guiding and mentoring so many individuals in his years of service. As a teacher, athletic director, mentor and coach, Darald devoted his life to serving the Lord’s Church at this place and time.

Darald was an old school teacher and coach. He had an incredible sense of humor, with an unmistakable laugh; full of wit and sarcasm that often brought a smirk to his face.

He was a “tough love” kind of man with a heart of gold who always wanted the best for everyone and would do anything for them. He taught others that through faith in Christ and hard work you could achieve anything you set your heart and mind to. Those that knew him were truly blessed and inspired.” 

This very room was his safe-haven; his refuge. Darald would be first to admit he was a sinner. He knew his flaws and shortcomings. He could often quote you chapter and verse those times when he fell short in his life. But he understood mercy and grace. He knew of the saving action of His Savior Jesus Christ.  

Darald knew the Scripture well which says, “All have fallen short of the glory of God.”-Romans 3:28; “For there is not a just man on earth, that does good, and sins not.” Ecclesiastes 7:20; and “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us...” But he also knew of the great promise which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-10

Being faithful does not mean living a perfect life. Being faithful is more than, “good thoughts, good words, good deeds.” We are fallen creatures. Poor, miserable sinners. We find ourselves living outside of Eden. Being faithful is simply trusting, believing, and clinging to all of the Father’s promises. This Darald did. He placed his confidence in the very promises that pointed to his Savior.

In God’s Son is full perfection. As God’s Son Jesus loved perfectly. As God’s Son Jesus lived perfectly. As God’s Son Jesus fulfilled the will of the Father perfectly. As God’s child Darald received in baptism the Savior’s mercy; full pardon for his sin.

Now Christ’s obedience is counted as yours. St. Paul reminds us; "For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." Romans 5:19

We now have in Christ everything the Father demands of each of us. As St. Paul explains, "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." -2 Corinthians 5:21

On Calvary’s cross we see – that great exchange— God’s mercy and forgiveness purchased at the cost of His own Son! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

As our substitute, Jesus lived in perfect conformity with God's Laws as Peter reminds us, "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth!" He never caused darkness by sin. -1 Peter 2:22

Darald trusted in the Lord without wavering. His confidence was in Christ. His hope was in Christ. His trust was in Christ.

Your Dad and Grandpa was given an additional 13 plus years through the gift of life with a heart and kidney transplant. He was able to spend his final days surrounded by family and friends in the comfort of his own home.

Many people are content to say, “I don’t want to be a burden.” Not so. You need to be a burden. You need to have people in your life care for you. By example you cared for your Dad in the months and weeks leading up to his passing. It’s easy to recite the 4th Commandment and its meaning. It takes sacrifice and effort to live it. Thank you for your service to your Dad. You became the hands, the feet, the fingers and toes of Jesus. You offered him compassion, comfort and care. You lived the faith. You became for us, ‘a sermon in shoes.’

But through it all St. Paul’s final commendation was Darald’s personal experience and his final legacy. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8

Christ's love knows no boundaries. He loves you constantly and completely. It is a love that can never be broken. His love is boundless and eternal. Never forget - Jesus loves you! When others turn their backs on you.  When their love grows cold. And empty.  Jesus will still be there. To love you. He will never stop or change in His love for you!

Darald knew the Savior’s voice. Now he sees His face. But still, we walk by faith – until that day comes in our life when Jesus will call us 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. The old song sings, “Soon and very soon, we shall see the King!” And so we shall – all in the Lord’s perfect timing.

May the Savior so walk with you until we are re-united with those who have gone before us.

Almighty and everlasting God, the consolation of the sorrowful and the strength of the weak, may the prayers of those who in any tribulation or distress cry to You graciously come before You, so that in every situation they may recognize and receive Your gracious help, comfort, and peace through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

[1] Jesus Lead Thou On, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

[2] Unknown source, copyright © Common Domain

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