Funeral Sermon - John A. Hendricks
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Delivered By
Pr. David Fleener
Delivered On
January 25, 2019 at 1:00 PM
Central Passage
Hebrews 12:1-2
Funeral of John A. Hendricks

Pr. David Fleener

Funeral sermon: John A. Hendricks – January 25, 2019

Hebrews 12:1-2; John 13:34-35


              Dear family and friends of John, grace and peace be yours from God our Father and from Jesus Christ who loves us with an incomprehensible love, even beyond death. Amen.


              One of my clearer memories of John is at one of Tanner’s baseball games. Most of the family was there, I think. Kimberley was in the bleachers. So were John Andrew and Bree and their little dog Palmer! And of course, John and Betty were there, soaking in the game, enjoying every minute. They clearly relished watching their grandchildren compete.


              Which made me think of this verse from Hebrews 12. Just as Tanner and Tryse always had a “great cloud of witnesses” watching their games, so John had a great cloud of witnesses around him throughout his life. Not only his parents and siblings, but also his wife, Betty, his sons, Jay and John Andrew, his in-laws, his church family at Zion, and most of all, all of God’s people, living and dead, with Jesus, the perfecter of our faith, at the head of the group, leading the cheers, rallying the fans. Jesus, the “pioneer and perfecter” of our faith was there with John every step of the way, encouraging him on the race of life, setting him on the right course, even carrying him sometimes. John was surrounded by that cloud of witnesses during his earthly life. And though he is departed from this earthly realm, he continues to be part of that great group of witnesses for us today as he rests in the mercy and love of God.


              Because, you see, nothing can separate us from the love of God that God shows us through Jesus, our Savior, and through his people, like John, that he loves.


              John, of course, was known for his deep love for his family – his wife, children, and grandchildren. And that sort of love isn’t just a natural, human love. It’s a godly love. It’s a love that accepts, even embraces, the painful realities of life. Betty, you remarked how good a husband John was. I can tell you with confidence that that love that John gave to you and his family was a gift from the Holy Spirit; a way that God worked through him, just as God works through each of us, to bring even a tiny amount of light to a benighted world. All of us have that tiny spark of light we are called to share with the world; a tiny spark that when combined with others can wash a room in brilliant light. The light of God that shone through John was his love for his family and his fidelity to them. That was a work of God.


              Even so, John didn’t earn his way to salvation, just as none of us do. The fact that we’re running the race Hebrews describes in the first place is God’s grace. Though we run, though we work, though we toil in this realm, at the end of the day, God’s grace is what carries us through each leg of the race, day by day, and finally, gets us across the finish line.


              John has crossed that finish line now, and rests in God’s presence, where he will be raised one day to enjoy life that never ends, along with the rest of us who belong to Jesus Christ, who have his seal on our foreheads marked on the day of our baptism. God comfort us today, through our grief, with that sure and certain promise. And God help us remember that all of the saints, including John, are led by Jesus, rallying the crowd and cheering us on. Amen.  


© 2019, David M. Fleener. Permission granted to copy and adapt original material herein for non-commercial purposes with appropriate credit given.