Funebris oratio in matris

Rasma Swinging 1995Homily read at St.Bartholomew's ev.luth. church in Rūjiena
On the Thursday after Trinity Sunday
AD 2010 3rd of June

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26)

When mom asked me if I could conduct her funeral service, at first I wanted to decline because I knew how hard it would be. Mom also understood this, but she wanted very much that I lead the service, as I had done at dad's. Mom planned every detail. What she wanted to wear at her funeral, which hymns to sing, who absolutely must be invited, what kind of service she wanted. Mom always planned well. But no one can plan the day of his death. No one can ever know when he will die. Yet we all know that someday we all will. No one has escaped the claws of death. We have but a few choices: ignore the truth that we all will die; fear the fact that we will die; or accept it and prepare for it. The Bible teaches us: Set your house in order, for you shall die. Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning; Then you watch, for you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, at evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or early; lest he come suddenly and find you sleeping (2 Kings 20:1; Luke 12:35,37-38; Mark 13:35-36). Mom set her house in order, had her loins girded about and set her lamps burning to the very end.

Many people these past few days have told me that mom was a optimistic person, a good person, a helpful person. I am thankful for these remarks and these words of comfort help make this hard time easier to bear. Notwithstanding, many more people were bewildered at how peaceful mom was at accepting her approaching death and how she could so freely talk about it and plan for it. Some, incorrectly, thought it to be Western thinking, while others correctly assessed that it was her faith that gave her security and peace.

My mother was not a theologian. Her knowledge of the Bible wasn't great. But she had a practical theology, which every Christian should have. She read the Bible every day and prayed to God in the morning and evening – for her sons, grandchildren, congregation, friends. There were two things that bothered her the most with the progress of her illness: that she could no longer participate in Sunday church services and could no longer visit and help the elderly of the congregation, who were more her friends, than simply diaconate objects.

Faith in Christ's victory over death gave my mother the courage to look death in the eye and say along with Job: For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall rise on the earth at the last; and even after they corrupt my skin, yet this: in my flesh I shall see God. (Job 19:25-26)

Mom knew Who gave her life and, therefore, knew Who will take it away, hence Who holds her life in His hands. She was not afraid of death, because she believed that Christ her Savior is risen. And because He is alive, she knew that at the last she will also live again. She believed that and did not waver in that faith at all.

Faith is not an empty hope to make us all feel better. Faith is the strong reliance upon the promises of God, knowing that in this world we will have disappointments, sorrows, hardships, but that God will never and by no means ever fail us. Perhaps we will have to go through fire and water, but God in Christ will never leave us. For we are His children.

There were two things that mom wanted that I should say in my homily – the first is that she loved her sons and did everything she could that they would have a better life than she did. Mom taught me what love is. Real love involves not only emotions, but love always leads to concrete action.

The second was that I should talk about God. Just as I, son of Rasma, received my flesh and blood in her womb, thus making us relatives, so mom received her flesh and blood from her mother. That is how it is with us all. We become human through our mother's. The Bible says For You formed my inward parts: You covered me in my mother's womb (Psalm 139:13).

More importantly, as it is with us, so it is with the Son of God – Jesus. Jesus received his body and blood from his mother, the Virgin Mary and became human for eternity. And Christ in that very same body, given to him by his mother, was tried, crucified, died and buried. But on the third day He rose again and now sits in glory at the right hand of the Father. At Christmastime and every time we celebrate the Eucharist we remember the fact that God became man in Christ through his mother's flesh. But today, on the day of my mother's funeral I want to emphasize the fact that in that very same body in which He died, Christ also rose again. That is significant to us because, as we confess in the Athanasian Creed in Christ "God has taken humanity into Himself." Through baptism our mortal flesh is taken into God. Therefore we can assuredly confess that He will never leave us, because He has united His nature to our own.

Among mom's papers I found a small leaflet, which she carried with her on which in her handwriting was a quotation from Isaiah: Fear not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness (Isaiah 41:10).

Faith in the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit was the source of mom's strength. I do not doubt it in the least. May God grant us the same conviction and the same strength to look death in the eye and say – you have no power over me for my Redeemer liveth. Amen.

Print Email

FAQ: How to get into heaven

Have you ever heard that the only stupid question is the one not asked?

Well, someone once asked me:

"If God really loves me, why would He send me to hell?"

 

Its a good question.  It needs to be asked.

It seems to be a natural assumption that a loving God

 could not possibly send any one to hell because

it would be cruel and inhumane.

 

I mean, God would only send evil people to hell, right?

 

? ?  ?

 

But is this the best question to ask?

Maybe this question should be set on it's ear and be
asked the other way around.

 

Instead of asking why God would send you to hell,


try it from another perspective:

 

"What have I done so great that God should

allow me into heaven?"

 

Next>>>

 

Print Email

My Testimony

b_200_150_16777215_00_images_stories_k_valmiera.JPGSummer of Love

I was born and baptized in the summer of 1969. By the love of God I was saved by grace through faith and born-again in the waters of my baptism and testified to that fact on Pentecost 1984 when I was confirmed. But from there I ventured on my own path that led me away from God's grace and merciful covering. By my 21st year I was a manic-depressive alcoholic who had abandoned God as some "far away force" which didn't really care weather I lived or died.

A loving God?

But the idea that God does not care is simply not true. God loves and cares for us like his own children and disciplines us with His never-failing love. God allowed things in my life to get so bad that like the prodigal son, who one day found himself eating with the pigs, I realized that things in God's house were so much better than where I had found myself presently. That was the early months of 1996, twelve years after professing Christ as my savior, when God opened my eyes to see clearly the state of my life. And like the same prodigal, who came sheepishly home expecting harsh punishment from his father, God lovingly ran to meet me where I was and renewed my faith in Him.

Repent = return

My life was re-committed to Christ on March 17th of the same year (St. Patrick's day) and at that time, God healed me of the brokeness and emptiness of my life. All glory to God! Praise Jesus!

My point

My point is not that before my life was the pits and now it's all a bed of roses.

My point is that God loves us and cares for us and wants to show it, but because of our stubbornness we don't always see it nor do we accept it. That stubbornness will inevitably lead each one of us into a pigsty somewhere at sometime. Pigsty's come in all shapes and sizes: yours may look like a two-bit dive on the wrong-end of town or just as likely, a glass-covered skyscraper in the middle of the financial district. In both places you can find muck and filth to wallow in. Both can be places we want to find freedom, but cannot.

The bad news is that you are in a pigsty and only if you come to God can you be made clean.

The good news is that God doesn't care that you are filthy and covered in muck. The good news is that God is not surprised that you went running into pigsty's. The good news is that He has taken it upon Himself to clean you up and set you right before Him. The good news is that if you come to Him and admit it was foolish to play in the muck, He has promised to take you in and clean you up.

Please check out my About Jesus page to find out more about this awesome, wonderful, and loving God.

 

 

 

Print Email

Via de Cristo

Via de Cristo krustsWhat is Via de Cristo?

Via de Cristo is a Spanish word that means "Way of Christ." It is a three-day school that takes a New Testament look at Christianity as a lifestyle. Via de Cristo is a highly structured weekend designed to strengthen and renew the faith of Christian people, and through them, their families, churches, and the environment in which they live and work. It is a united effort of laity and clergy to aid congregations in developing Christian leaders to more effectively serve Christ in the church.

Purpose of Via de Cristo

The heart and essence of the Via de Cristo is to bring Christians to a full awareness of what is meant by living the life of Grace, adding new strength and vitality to their Christianity. The purpose of the Via De Cristo is to develop in Christians a consciousness of their Power and Mission to become leaders in Christian renewal, and the desire to continue to live the life of Grace, personally and together with their brothers and sisters in Christ.

History of Via de Cristo

The movement originated as "Cursillo" in the late 1940’s in the Roman Catholic Church in Spain and moved to the United States in the late 1950’s. It began in the Lutheran church when lay people and clergy attended a Catholic Cursillo in 1971 in Iowa and in Florida. The first Lutheran sponsored weekends were held the following year in both Iowa and Florida and have been held all across the U.S. and in several foreign countries.

The name Via de Cristo was adopted by the Lutheran Community in 1986. Some other denominations offering weekends include Episcopalians, Brethren, Methodists, and Presbyterians with weekend names such as: The Great Banquet, Way of Christ, and Emmaus Walk. The Latvian community held its first weekend in August 2002. Brothers and sisters from Indiana and Kentucky communities from the USA assisted in establishing our movement.

To learn more about Latvia's Via de Cristo click here (site in Latvian).

De Colores!

Print Email

Foreword

Living historyHistory

You are reading a living history. It is a history of men and women, of families and generations, of times and places all rooted in and branching out from a family tree. On each leaf of the tree is a name. Each name is more than just some odd configuration of let­ters representing someone, who did something at sometime for some reason. Each name stands for an individual, special in his- or her-own right, who was, or is now experiencing the gift that we call life.

Adventure

Contained within is a true-life adventure. Dare to read more than simply names and places and try to imagine the lives that lie behind each name. There are years of love and of heartache, of joy and of sorrow. There are events of births, graduations, weddings, vocations, anniversaries, and celebrations of all sorts. There, too, are lives torn by wars and hardships, losses and deaths.

In short, these are real lives.

Genealogies

The Bible makes a great deal of genealogies. I believe this is because each and every person is significant. Each person is unique and special. There are no two people alike and there is no person who has not af­fected another. For this reason alone, I believe a book of remembrance should be written—that we might re­cord and see how the gift of life is passed from one generation to the next.

Print Email

In order for this site to work properly we place cookies on your device. By using this site, you agree to the use of cookies.