On An Untimely Death

Text: Psalm 103:1-22

Usually in the first words we attempt to paint a picture of the deceased. And there are an awful lot of good words to remember. You heard many of them in the family remembrances. Edward, Jr was a sensitive kid. Kind, gentle, and whip-smart. Thinking about others. Always having a cute grin.

There is also something that we will never understand. How all those great reasons to know Edward didn’t add up to a reason to keep living.

We tend to think that is a bright line. But what I want to suggest is that we all have more in common with Edward, with each other, than our safe sides of those bright lines.

The psalmist sings:
14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

A box, a few words, a spot in the ground…that is all of our fates. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And the wages of sin are death. We are all on the same side of that bright line. The last writing of Martin Luther reflected on that – “We are all beggars”.

While we don’t understand the sin that lives within us. While we will never understand the why’s around Edwards actions, it is my job to proclaim to you what we do know with rock solid certainty.

8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

That cross, and that God-man Jesus took care of sin. God stopped counting. God said this is what I think of your bright lines and erased them all, replacing them with pure grace. We know we call on a God of grace.
4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy

Christians confess in the creed that Christ descended into hell. There is nothing that we might experience that He has not. If I go up to the highest heaven, You are there. If I descend into the pit, you are there. Neither height nor depth…neither death nor life…will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. Even in the depths, we know God crowns us with steadfast love.

“All of us who have been baptized into Christ…were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, Just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too…will be united with Him in the resurrection.”

We have called on the God of grace and mercy and love and He has made us His children in those waters of baptism. Where we waver, God never does. He is steadfast. We know that exactly when we might be faithless, God remains faithful to his promises. “The steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting.”

And the last known is that resurrection. “this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” That is our Hope. He’s the first-fruits. The Spirit in baptism in the deposit. It is a certain Hope…a known Hope. A Hope we long for the fulfillment of.


When surrounded and confronted with the things we don’t understand…turn to that we do…we know Our God, revealed in Christ…on that cross, we know the Steadfast Love of God, who redeems our lives from the pit. Amen.