BECAUSE HE LIVES
We are gathered today in memory of Nathalie Gail Ridenour Holsinger — Born May 17, 1910.
I am reminded of (John 14:19) when Jesus said In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live.
The death of our loved ones who know and love the Lord is a bitter-sweet experience. It is bitter because we lose for a time the close and warm experience of sharing life and love with them, but it is sweet because beyond the sorrow of our loss there is a knowledge that life is far better for them in the house of our Heavenly Father, and because of that, His comfort and His love become more meaningful to us.
Nathalie, was a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother (not grandma), a great grandmother, a friend, and fellow servant of Jesus Christ. She lived a useful and full life. She loved her music, loved to play her music. She was a Sunday school teacher. In later years she was unable to play her music and unable to attend church services, but she never lost contact with her church family. Now Nathalie has laid her burdens down. We gather in love to mourn our loss, but also to celebrate her gain. We come in the face of death's mystery, but also in the assurance of the resurrection and life eternal. "Because I live," Christ says to each of us, "so shall you live."
.The apostle Paul tells us that death is the means whereby we shed our bodies of corruption in order to receive bodies which are not subject to decay. God did not intend that we should live forever in such a body.
So while death is an enemy. God causes even this enemy to serve us for our own Good. In this sense, then, death is a blessed release, offering the anticipation of a resurrection body that is incorruptible and immortal.
Nathalie, had lived a good life. She was married, had wonderful children and saw many changes in his 94 years. She interacted with neighbors and nobody she saw was a stranger. Her faith was important to her. She touched so many lives in so many different ways. You, her family have shared many stories with me about Nathalie. I would like to share a story with you that you may not know.
Story about Gary and his ministry
Each of us has a certain fear of suffering and dying. This is true even of the most religious among us. Sometimes we turn our face from death, we would just as soon not deal with it. Sometimes people can die quite alone. They die alone in a kind of conspiracy of silences because we don't want to face the reality of death.
This was not the case for Nathalie. She was blessed to have a loving family that surrounded her in her time of need and attended to all her needs. Jesus also attends our needs when he sees the time is near.
Natalie is now experiencing Heaven's sunrise. Death has been the doorway for her to enter that blessed experience. The Bible says, "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for those who love Him.
But, with her passing we lose more than someone we loved. We lose more than someone to help shape and mold lives. We lose a whole generation of knowledge. Things that were only stored in her mind. But much of that she shared with you family and friends and now you are the keepers of that knowledge. She would want you to use it for good and love kindness.
Paul had the assurance that sprang from the experience described in his words, "for to me to live is Christ." To live in Christ is to conquer the enemies of life and death too, as did Paul so did Nathalie--All who love the Lord will gain that victory.
WE AFFIRM THE REALITY OF DEATH BUT AT THE SAME TIME REJOICE IN THE EXPECTATION OF RESURRECTION.
Death for Christians is gain. Jesus died, but he rose again, as every Christian can testify out of his or her own experience, and he promises to all who trust him, "Because I live, you shall live also."
FINALLY, WE GIVE THANKS FOR THE PRESENCE OF THE RISEN CHRIST.
Christ promised us that because he lives so too shall we live. That is because the risen Christ lives in our hearts.
The assurance Christians have is available for everyone who leaves their self-centeredness behind and trusts in Christ and lives for him. He alone can give us resurrection and Heaven. The Bible says. "He that hath the Sun hath the light. but he that hath not the Son hath not eternal life."
Today we grieve, but not as those who have no hope, for we find peace in the nearness and presence of God, and God will provide for us in the unknown tomorrows as we depend upon Him.
Even as we mourn her death we can rejoice for Nathalie. She is in the eternal presence of Christ.
We who are left can go forward to live courageously and victoriously because of His promises: "Because I live, you too shall live." And, "I will never leave you nor forsake you...I am with you to the end of the world—My peace I give unto you—Let not your hearts be troubled; neither let them be afraid."
LET US PRAY: