The Rev. Paul J Cain, Jr.
The Lord God is an Everlasting Rock
Thursday of Pentecost IX, 06 August 2009
Funeral Sermon for George “Scotty” Schuman
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
We miss George already. And we should. There’s nothing wrong with that. We miss people because we love them, whether we are separated by distance, disagreement, or even death.
Many of you were blessed by him for many years. I had four months. His strength lasted nearly 97 years, far beyond the expectation of 70 or perhaps 80 of Psalm 90.
George—Scotty—trusted in the Lord. The Lord God was and still is his everlasting rock. George clung to that Rock of Ages we sang about, the Rock of Ages, the Lord, to whom we give thanks this day for George.
We have a strong city; He sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
Things had been hard for George in the last few years. Some might say they’ve been hard since 1982 and his heart surgery and all that followed. George might say that things were hard since he and Mollie left the ranch in 1972. (One winter in Story was enough. They moved to Sheridan in ’73.) Then again, George would have agreed with the Scriptures when they say that life in this valley of the shadow of death is always hard. “In this world you will have trouble.”
St. Paul wrote words that also apply to Scotty: For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth 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.
That is faith speaking of its Lord, Jesus Christ, the crucified one, He who opens the gates that the righteous may enter in. He gives perfect peace. He makes level the way of the righteous and our souls yearn for Him. He is our dwelling place in all generations. Those of you here this afternoon that are related to George by blood and faith are testimony to that.
You knew him as a father, grandfather, great grandfather, even a great-great grandfather, a friend, or somewhere in between. He knew me as his pastor. When I did my rounds to shut-ins, he was always available. He may have been asleep, and he did give me permission to wake him up, and then he was available for a visit, a devotion, or for the Lord’s Supper. We spent some time together talking or watching a little Fox News, and then it was time to pray, hear the Word of the Lord, and receive the Lord’s gifts.
George heard of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for him, for his loved ones, and for the whole world. He heard that when Jesus said “It is finished!” He meant it. And that atoning once-for-all sacrifice was accomplished on a rugged Roman wood cross raised on a hill outside of Jerusalem. Jesus brings the peace Isaiah predicts: “O Lord, you will ordain peace for us; you have done for us all works.” Salvation is God’s work, God’s work alone.
In this life, George was a hard worker. Yet, he knew the Bible truth that good works were not necessary for salvation. They are necessary to make sure the ranch is properly worked, the land is conserved, the animals are cared for, and the sugar beets develop enough sugar to make them worth the trouble of harvesting. George worked hard because his hard work had the good purpose of serving you, his family, his neighbors, and his community. And from what I’m told, Scotty was really good at delegating some of that hard work to his children. Water needed to be set. And chores wouldn’t do themselves.
We lay George’s body to rest today. His soul is with the Lord. He is at peace, at rest, with Jesus, and with all who have fallen asleep in Christian faith. Isaiah points us to the Christian hope we have because of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead: “Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!”
Can you imagine that day, the day of unknown date in which the dead will rise to life, bodies and souls will be restored and reunited, all will be judged, and we who live in Christ now will dwell with Him forever in the New Heaven and New Earth.
On that Day, the Last Day, this song will be sung by all who, by faith, call upon the Lord Jesus Christ: We have a strong city; He sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
We thank the Lord Jesus for His life and work for us and His ongoing work of creating, nourishing, and sustaining faith in His Christians until life everlasting. We also thank the Lord for George “Scotty” Schuman. We thank God for the gifts given to George in this life and for the gifts God gave us through him. Amen.
In the Name of Jesus Amen.