A myHT Fortress

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Holy Wanderlust: Funeral Homily for Martin Voelker

Martin Eduard Voelker was born of the flesh on the 1st of March in the Year of Our Lord 1917 to Friedrich Johann and Anna Zollmann Voelker.

He was born again of water and the Spirit on the 25th of March, 1917, at Saint John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lanesville, Indiana, at the hand of the sainted Reverend Carl Schleicher.

Martin was catechized in the Christian faith as taught by the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and confirmed in that faith on Palm Sunday, the 13th of April 1930, and first received the Holy Body and Precious Blood of Jesus in the Sacrament of the Altar later that week, again at Saint John’s, at the hand of the sainted Reverend George Baumgart.

On the 18th of April, 1948, Martin was united in Holy Wedlock with LaVerne Day. To this union were born five children: Donna Christine, Ronald Edward, Raymond Martin, Marvin Albert, and Susan Ruth.

The Risen Lord Jesus welcomed Raymond Martin to his heavenly home at the tender age of two weeks.

On the 8th of September, 1979, LaVerne fell asleep in Jesus.

On the 20th of May, 1985, Martin was again united in Holy Marriage, this time to Alda Fay Stilger. She also preceded him in death.

On the Vigil of the Resurrection of Our Lord, the 11th of April, in the Year of Our Lord 2009, Martin fell asleep in Jesus, and now awaits the resurrection of all flesh.

John 20:1-18

Wednesday after the Resurrection of Our Lord

15 April 2009

Funeral of Martin E. Voelker

St. John’s, Lanesville, IN

In Namen des Vaters und des Sohns und des Heilige Geistes. Amen.

Martin loved to travel! He could tell you about his travels to every corner of the United States. He would remind his family that he had been to every province of Canada, except Labradour. The kids have spoken of the trip to the 1964 World’s Fair, and the daring journey to the remote stretches of Alaska and the Northwest Territory, long before the conveniences and safeguards of cell phones and GPS’s. He crossed rivers and borders, even getting to Germany. He loved the thrill of these journeys. The German word is Wanderlust – a passion for travelling!

Now Martin’s Wanderlust has taken the ultimate step: his travelling has just passed over to the next world. Our friend, our father, our Uncle Martin now has the amazing joy of exploring the heavenly realms in the joy and peace of our Risen Savior.

We all love to wander. Our fallen nature wants to follow after our mother Eve and wander from the holy and righteous will of God. The wide and easy road of sin and death are always beckoning us. Left to ourselves, we are completely lost, wandering rebelliously, and rejecting our Lord.

Martin was born with that kind of a wandering spirit, just as we were. But at just over 3 weeks of age, Herr und Frau Voelker brought their son to this Holy Font, where he was cleansed of all rebellion. Here he was rid of the false wandering, and the holy desire to be led in paths of righteousness began.

Pastor Schleicher began Martin’s journey with that Baptism and the early catechesis. Pastor Baumgart was the next servant of the Lord to continue the preaching and teaching that led Martin in travels following the Good Shepherd. Jeder Sonntag der Familie Voelker ihren Kinder nach Gottesdiesnt gebracht. Every Sunday the Voelker family brought their children to the Divine Service. There, they were forgiven and nourished by our dear Lord. There, they responded in musical thanks and praise.

Every journey needs some music – a soundtrack, if you will. Martin was ready and willing to jump in and provide the travelling music. If it had strings, he could play it. Whether joining in a group, such as his “Polecat Holler” friends, or simply playing the fiddle for family, Martin loved music.

An earlier Martin, that is, Dr. Luther, said that next to God’s Word, music was his greatest gift. The joy that was shared through our Martin’s playing bore witness to that gift.

His love of music was especially fond of Easter music. Some fine hymnody and sentimental songs accompany the Easter season. It was known in the family that he would enjoy going to his heavenly home around Easter time, as this provided some wonderful music. Indeed, today we are amazingly blessed in that.

This morning we heard again one of the Easter Gospels. We hear of Saint Mary Magdalene, travelling to the empty tomb. She tells Saints Peter and John, who also travel to the empty tomb. They do not find the body of the Lord Jesus. They find only linens lying there.And then Jesus appears to Mary and tells her not to cling to Him the way He stood before her. Now she and all others would cling in a different manner. Now we cling to His Body, when it is unwrapped from the linens on the altar, and placed on our tongues. We cling to His Blood as it pours forth from His chalice.

The Body and Blood of Jesus make Him present as He forgives, and gives life and salvation. We no longer need travel to some tomb to find him, He travels to us, coming through the simple gifts of water, Word, Body and Blood. And in Jesus’ travelling to us, we have a blessed reunion with Martin, as well. So this morning, Martin would encourage you to keep travelling to Christ’s pulpit and altar, that you may receive these gifts, and in addition, have a brief communion with him.

This morning, Martin is enjoying a holy and righteous Wanderlust, travelling around the heavenly realms, with no worries about breaking down and riding with strangers like on a trip to California, or coming to a literal end of the road, as in Alaska. Instead, he can joyfully go about, relishing those words he so recently heard: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter into the eternal pleasure of My Father.”


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