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Memorial Service Sermon for Scott Krueger

November 13, 2022

This is the sermon from the Memorial Service for Scott Krueger, held at Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest, IL, November 12, 2022. You can view the beautiful service in its entirety. You may also view the bulletin. I am grateful for the life Scott lived, and for the holy privilege of preaching at this service. Rest eternal grant Scott, O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon him.

Julie; Colin, Grant, and Drew; Jerry and Phyllis; family and friends in Christ: Grace be unto you and peace in the name God the Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

  1. It’s not every day that we get to hear Bach, Elgar, Arnesen, Lloyd Webber, and Lauridsen here at Grace. We have, of course, Scott to thank for this. He chose the music for today’s service months ago, long before we knew this service would be needed. Back when we hoped such a day would not come. This tells us at least a few things. For one thing, Scott was just a bit of a planner. For another, he had exquisite taste. He had eyes and ears for beauty. There is much we could say about Scott, and we’ll take time to do that together this evening. And I know I speak for everyone when I say how blessed we were to hear today from you, David and Elizabeth, and especially from you, Colin, Grant, and Drew. Thank you for sharing your words, your memories, your love for your father with us. You know this without me saying it, but not only did your father love you; not only was he enormously proud of you; he also took profound delight in each of you, in watching you grow and become who you are. Long before parenthood was his own childhood, where he was the youngest brother and cousin, a precocious child from a small town with dreams of the whole world. And in between childhood and parenthood, he managed to convince his best friend that they could be so much more, that soulmate might be better, launching a story of adventurous love and support that would span 36 years of marriage. Scott lived with a strong moral imagination, always choosing to follow his ethical compass in his career. When young people (or any people) needed guidance and mentoring, Scott was there. There is so much to say, for his life was a blessing to so many. Which is why it is so hard that this service he planned is needed. It is a hard thing to lose someone, so loved and so loving, so young.
  2. We are here today because this world, so full of beauty and goodness and love, is also broken. Sickness comes. Things fall apart. As St. Paul writes, our mortal nature wastes away, the earthly tent in which we live is destroyed. Scott had the best medical care in the world, a huge network of support, the unwavering care of Julie and their children, and his own will to live. Throughout the past year, there were many hard days. There were, of course, days of great joy, too. We hoped, we prayed, the outcome would be different. But it was not to be. It is right that we cry and grieve. How could we not in the face of such loss?
  3. Scott knew early on that he might not survive this lymphoma, but in my conversations with him over the past year, he never despaired. I think there are two reasons for this, one for each side of eternity. First, Scott knew that as a child of God, he had nothing to fear from death. While he questioned and prodded his faith – and his faith was stronger for it – the foundation was firm; he knew God to be gracious and loving, warm and welcoming. As Christ was killed and yet raised to newness of life for him, Scott trusted the promise of his baptism. Second, I think Scott knew that he had lived life fully; that, though certainly he wanted more years with family, more time with friends, more chances to bless others, he had nevertheless truly made the most of the time he had been given. This is not to pretend he was perfect; who among us is? It is simply to say that Scott lived life to the fullest; he also lived so that others could more fully live, always seeking to help us see more broadly, to see who else we could include, to find beauty in new places. Scott knew he had lived fully and done great good in this world; he knew in faith that his place in the world to come is secure. In both of these, Scott found peace to live out his journey.
  4. We, like Scott, do not despair. Even in our tears, we take heart and find hope. Jesus comes to us this day, this One in whose death and resurrection we find new life. Jesus gives himself to us again. He sets a feast before us today, in the presence of the enemy of illness and in the valley of the shadow of death. He gives himself to us, the true bread from heaven, to nourish us and sustain our hope. In faith, we see that by God’s grace death does not get the last word. Death is not the end. Christ has burst forth from the tomb and in him we shall live. In him, Scott doeslive, received now into the eternal weight of glory. Isaiah writes of a coming day, when God will swallow up death and wipe away all tears and the heavenly banquet of rich foods and good wines shall unfurl forever. In today’s celebrations, we are blessed first by the presence of Christ and, through him, by the presence of one another. Together, even with tear-stained faces, we celebrate. We give thanks for who Scott was for each of us, and we praise God that Scott is very much alive in Christ. Life will not be the same for us, but the Kingdom is just over the horizon, and one day we shall be with Scott, and all the saints in light, into eternity. We can entrust Scott – husband, father, son, friend – into the arms of God’s mercy, for God is faithful and the story does not end here.
  5. We do not lose heart. Let us, then, raise our voices in song, creating beauty in this place in praise of our God. As a few of us sang to Scott in the ICU, let us all sing of that day of God’s glory, when there will be no more dying only light. Remembering how Scott helped us see beauty, let us sing to our Beautiful Savior. With the church on the earth and the hosts of heaven, let us sing to our God, who has won the victory for Scott. Who has won the victory for you. Alleluia. Alleluia. Amen.

And now may that peace that passes all understanding keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, this day and forever. Amen.

From → Sermons

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