Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Lebanon, OR
Funeral of Alta “Lorraine” Roosa – December 12, 2016
Text: 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Fought the good fight – Lorraine lived a life of many struggles, yet the Lord sustained her through them all. 94 years of struggles. It’s never easy for a child of God, an heir of eternity to live in this world, knowing the day will come for us to lay it all down and leave it another. That’s why this Scripture describes life as a “fight.”
Lorraine’s life, just like each of ours was a fight. She prayed for her children, that they and their children might keep the faith and reverently hear the Word of the Lord. She agonized in grief over losing her husband Jim, even 21 years later. She fought with infirmity and relying on her kids to care for her. She argued with God asking to go home.
But it turned out that this was her final lap of the race. The time for her labors and endurance had come to an end. But what a strange race this was, because after all her struggles and sighing, she didn’t even receive her own reward. “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me.” Lorraine is not in heaven because of how well she fought the good fight or finished the race. She is in heaven because God gifted her with righteousness. So, you could say her life was a race which she ran, but Christ had already won the victory.
A week and a half ago, I stood by Lorraine’s bedside when we thought she was about to cross the finish line. There, I read the crucifixion and resurrection of her Lord and Savior. These are fitting events to focus on because that’s really what our life as baptized children of God is about. Lorraine was crucified with Christ and raised with Him in her baptism. So, reading the death and resurrection of her Lord was like reading her own life story. “Into your hands, I commit my spirit. You have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.”
Lorraine’s life was unique and she was special to each of you. But we’re gathered here in worship because she was before God a child adopted in Christ. Her Lord is the one who fought the good fight for Lorraine and for you. And He continues to fight for you against unbelief and despair so that you would also be a child of God when your last hour comes.
My prayer for you is that your life is a fight. That may sound strange, but by God’s grace may it be a good fight. Even though you weep now, may you trust that God will bring joy in the morning. Even though you long to have Lorraine back or be where she is, may God give you endurance to keep the faith. And when your race is finished, may you not receive your own prize, but the heaven which Jesus has won for you. Amen.
 Greek: agon, familiar to us as agony and agonize
 Said by Jesus from the cross Luke 23:46, quoted from Psalm 31:5
 Psalm 30:5