Based on: John 10:27-30
Some of us have known her only for a few weeks, others for many years, but there is one who has known her from before he created the world – our Savior Jesus Christ. His relationship with her is one of complete care and concern, so much so that he calls her one of his flock – one of his sheep.
How comforting it is to be called one of Jesus’ sheep. Jesus says, “I know them” and he does know us. The very first song we sang, “Borning Cry,” says exactly that – God, our Savior, was there at every stage of our life: when we were born, as we grow up, and when we die. He knows us intimately.
He knows her and she also knows her Shepherd. Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice . . . and they follow me.” She listened to the voice of her Savior and followed him. You could see how she followed the example of her Shepherd in her involvement in Ladies Aid. You could see her desire to help others in the years she spent taking care of her mother and when her mother was no longer in her life she found others in her neighborhood that she could help, especially the children around her. Her joy in helping others brings to mind a verse from the book of James, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”
She belonged to her Savior who promised, “I give them eternal life.” “I give them eternal life,” that is a promise kept for her. Jesus Christ, who knew her well, who was with her all her life and was with her especially when she was taken from us last Monday, that same Jesus Christ has given her eternal life beginning at her baptism and even now she continues that life with her Savior forever.
To protect that life that God gave her at Baptism, Jesus kept her safe. He said, “no one can snatch them out of my hand.” And that is absolutely true. God made her one of his own dear children at Baptism and placed her into our Shepherd’s hand and there she was safe.
Like a lamb held in the arms of her shepherd, her feet are not touching the ground, but she knows that she is safe – much safer than if she were standing on her own feet.
Safe from those things that would truly bring her harm: safe from Satan who wanted her in his claws instead of in the Shepherd’s hand, safe from the sinful influences of this world that would entice her to leave the Shepherd’s hand.
As she grew up and studied God’s Word at St. John’s Lutheran School, she was safe in the Shepherd’s Hand. When she married and took care of her family she was safe in the Shepherd’s hand. Later in life still the Shepherd kept her safe in his hand.
This Shepherd’s hand is the same hand that blessed the little children and healed the sick that came to him. It is the same hand that distributed the bread and wine at the first Lord’s Supper and the same hand that was nailed to the cross. This Shepherd came to earth to rescue each of us from our own sin and then holds us in his hand to keep us safe.
There were certainly problems in her life and times that were difficult, but God used those things to bless her and to bring her to that day last Monday when our Savior said to her, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Her soul is safe with the Lord – it has been all along, but now her body remains on this earth, separate from her soul. It will not remain like this forever. Our Savior will return in a way that is unmistakable – everyone will see him. And he will raise this body and make it perfect and holy and reunite it with it’s soul and we will see her again.