Marjory Fischer Funeral Sermon


Pastor’s wife – at least in the Lutheran or Protestant traditions – isn’t a formal role, but it typically takes on some interesting contours.

The first is that they are usually loved or hated by the congregation more than the minister himself.  The pastor can utilize the collar, his wife doesn’t have the totem.  The good news here is that I think I can say Marjory was on the beloved side.

And I could check off many of the reasons she was beloved by family and church family.  She’s be the first to you with baked goods, but she’d also have ensured her kids got to lick the beaters.  She played the organ or piano.  She learned playing a piano bought off the back of a truck in 1951.  And we should remember that Marjory was a true daughter of the West.  People like to date the frontier closing around 1900, but rural Montana in 1941 wasn’t like Kansas City – gone about fur as they could go.  Probably inappropriate, but a funny story about outhouses in use in those times was shared.  More appropriate might be the story of the music found when cleaning out which was not just Bach and Hymnals but included Elvis.  Given Marjory’s hymn choices I could have guessed that there would some interesting things. Lift High the Cross coming originally out of a rejected Green Hymnal project, and Borning Cry coming likewise out of an officially illicit Supplement to that hymnal.  There was someone who knew themselves and was unafraid picking.

And that might point at the biggest reason for the love. Marjory was aware of herself and she never seemed to lose her way.  She was solid enough to let others go and confident enough in them and God that they would come back.  Knowing that she was built on the rock, she could be that for others.

The other thing about Pastor’s Wives is that they know things can get asked of them, or have their husband being away at the wrong time.  And true to form, when Marjory had her stroke, that was the very day her Pastor had left for Palm Springs for a conference. But I also want to say, true to the best of the church, she was there. My wife, Marjory’s Elder Randy and Pastor Kalthoff all were able to visit. Some things are not fair, but the Lord does provide. As Paul says in the Epistle reading, “encourage one another with these words.”  The work of the church is a shared thing.  We lean on each other.


But Marjory would probably start scolding me if I didn’t turn to preaching the Gospel at her funeral.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.”  That is God revelation of himself to us, that He is Love.  And what does that Love mean?  That he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.  That cross is the love of God made manifest to us.  That cross is the pledge of mercy never ending.

“They are new every morning.”  Some days those mercies might come with a collar and official approval.  Some days those mercies are brought by new people.  The mercy of God is never stale.  And great is his faithfulness.  What he has promised is secure.  Even though we walk through the shadow of death we fear no evil.  Even though he might cause us grief, he will have compassion.  His nature is the abundance of his steadfast love.

And how might you know this steadfast love?  The Good Shepherd knows his own and they know him.  He calls and they will listen to his voice.

Today in these words the Shepherd calls you.  Jesus calls you to now his steadfast love.

Love that even though we grieve and do not have Marjory right now, we do not grieve as those without hope.  For when Jesus comes again, he comes with those who have fallen asleep.

Love that even when we feel weak and defeated, we know that the victory has been given to us.  The Lord himself will descend with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, with the sound of the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.

Love that hears the promise that even in that valley of the shadow of death, the Good Shepherd is with us.  And his faithfulness is such that we will always be with the Lord.

The Good Shepherd has called Marjory to him and this is better by far.  But today that same Shepherd Marjory knew and testified to with her life calls you.  He calls you to his steadfast love.  Amen.

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