A Funeral Homily for Matthais R. L. Krey written at 37,000 ft. in a Spirit Airliner
For the Funeral of Matthias R. L. Krey, Pastor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, written September 12, 2013 at 37,000 feet on a Spirit Airliner, by Peter, his younger brother, (Undelivered).
The Rainbow over the Heaven of Grace
Text: For no one lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we belong to the Lord. For to this end, Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Romans 14:7-9)
I know that Matthias clung to his Lord and knew that he belonged to him – so that with all his longing he is now belonging with Christ Jesus in the many mansions of our wonderful Father’s heavenly House.
Like at birth, the labor contractions make it painful for a mother to bring a new life into the world, suffering, however, quickly forgotten at the joy of a new life brought into the world; so it is painful and a hard time full of suffering, when we pass from this world into the eternal life of the next, then rejoicing among the children of God, at becoming one of the saints in light, a new morning star among the starry hosts of heaven.
In the words of our Lord during his earthly existence, “God is not a God of the dead but of the living.” The way Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not to forget: Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, and Zilpah are alive in God, so Matthias, your husband, dear Joan, your father, grandfather, and our brother, Matthias, is now alive in God, singing God’s praises with the three of your children who have gone before, with James, Ruthie, Johanna, Tirzah and Al, Bill, Vincent, Charlie, and our parents as well.
So precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints! (Psalm 116:15) Because our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, Matthias will also be raised to join with all the saints. Surely we are all sinners, too, but God sees us through rose-colored glasses, that is, through the righteousness of Jesus Christ alive in us, and that sight forgives us all our sins, because of the blood that Jesus Christ shed for Matthias and also for us.
There is a deeper this-worldly sense of dying and living to the Lord Christ. In the German language it comes through better: keiner lebt sich selber. No one lives herself or himself. Not we ourselves, but our lives are lived by another or by another force, that can be, for example, by the powers and principalities. Those who are baptized, however, those who believe in the Lord Jesus, the Christ become their life in them. Yes, Christ lives their lives and it is easy to see how Christ lived Matthias’ life and with bountiful and abundant grace worked through him, bringing God’s Word into the hearts of many people, so that they too could experience the new birth by water and blood to become children of God.
Because Matthias did not live himself but Christ lived his life, Christ who is the light of the world, faith, hope, and love like a radiant rainbow of grace will bring fulfillment of God’s promises to the people Matthias served, because he was a true and faithful servant of Jesus Christ.
So in the true faith that in God’s grace we receive by hearing God’s Word, we can all have Christ live our lives day by day into the blessed Gospel of our Savior, the Lord of the dead and the living, so that the promises of God become fulfilled among us in the miracles God performs here and hereafter.
Because the life of Christ in living us is not merely life, but the life that overcomes death, it is love. Death is very real, but the almighty love of God will raise up those whose lives were oriented toward Christ and like Matthias, those who by faith have lived Christ. The light of Christ’s life in us bends a rainbow from heaven to the earth, inscribed on the tear-drops of grace so that faith, hope, and more love; joy, righteousness, justice, and peace spread across God’s sky in the sunset and sunrise of the new heaven of God’s grace.
 For Martin Luther’s description of the “heaven of grace” see Philip and Peter Krey, Luther’s Spirituality, (New York: Paulist Press, 2007), pp. 138-40.