FUNERAL SERMON FOR FREDERICK PRITZLAFF
NOVEMBER 26, 2013 – FOREST HOME CHAPEL
TEXT – 1 JOHN 3:1-3
“IT IS ETERNALLY GOOD TO SEE JESUS, AND TO BE SEEN LIKE HIM!”
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Dear Emily, Ned, Libby, Tina, Erna, and other family and friends of Fred “Fritz” Pritzlaff. As you mark the death of your husband, your father, your grandfather, your brother, your friend, your brother in Christ – please give ear again to the words the Holy Spirit caused St. John to write in his first epistle. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.


One of the most common greetings that “Fritz” spoke in my presence went like this. “It’s good to see you Fred” - the response was - “It’s good to be seen!”  One of his most common replies to my asking – “how have you been?” was – “Things are seldom so good they couldn’t be better and seldom so bad they couldn’t be worse.”  His enjoyable banter and word crafting went wide and witty in earlier years – but even in these last years and months “It’s good to be seen!” and “Things are seldom so good…or so bad continued.”


God’s gift of marriage between husband and wife is a good gift. In your 58 years together, Emily, God richly blessed you and Fred with house and home – children and grandchildren. So much done together – so many memories –so many decades quickly passed!  In the last few years and even more in recent months life has become more limited and more difficult for you as your life’s mate’s health declined. The care and attention has multiplied. The enjoyable banter and conversation has lessened. But the goodness and love of God has not lessened – and that is what I would focus your thoughts on briefly today. For those in Christ – for children of God – St. John speaks of a time when one of “Fred’s” normal responses no longer holds true. There comes a time on the Last Day – when Christ returns - when it will be said by all in Christ – “Things are so good they couldn’t be better!” 


St. John expressed it this way. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are...we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

 

FUNERAL SERMON FOR FREDERICK PRITZLAFF
NOVEMBER 26, 2013 – FOREST HOME CHAPEL
TEXT – 1 JOHN 3:1-3
“IT IS ETERNALLY GOOD TO SEE JESUS, AND TO BE SEEN LIKE HIM!”
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Dear Emily, Ned, Libby, Tina, Erna, and other family and friends of Fred “Fritz” Pritzlaff. As you mark the death of your husband, your father, your grandfather, your brother, your friend, your brother in Christ – please give ear again to the words the Holy Spirit caused St. John to write in his first epistle. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.


One of the most common greetings that “Fritz” spoke in my presence went like this. “It’s good to see you Fred” - the response was - “It’s good to be seen!”  One of his most common replies to my asking – “how have you been?” was – “Things are seldom so good they couldn’t be better and seldom so bad they couldn’t be worse.”  His enjoyable banter and word crafting went wide and witty in earlier years – but even in these last years and months “It’s good to be seen!” and “Things are seldom so good…or so bad continued.”


God’s gift of marriage between husband and wife is a good gift. In your 58 years together, Emily, God richly blessed you and Fred with house and home – children and grandchildren. So much done together – so many memories –so many decades quickly passed!  In the last few years and even more in recent months life has become more limited and more difficult for you as your life’s mate’s health declined. The care and attention has multiplied. The enjoyable banter and conversation has lessened. But the goodness and love of God has not lessened – and that is what I would focus your thoughts on briefly today. For those in Christ – for children of God – St. John speaks of a time when one of “Fred’s” normal responses no longer holds true. There comes a time on the Last Day – when Christ returns - when it will be said by all in Christ – “Things are so good they couldn’t be better!” 


St. John expressed it this way. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are...we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

God called baby Fred Pritzlaff to be His child – on May 13, 1928. His parents, Edward and Erna Pritzlaff brought their infant son to Historic Trinity Lutheran Church in Milwaukee to receive God’s gift of Holy Baptism – His miracle of rebirth (John 3). Scripture states that baptism now saves us (1 Peter 3:21-22) – that it gives us forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) – that it covers us with Christ (Galatians 3:27). The love of Fred’s parents went beyond what the world knows when they sought this gift of God for their baby boy.


See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God. Scripture also reveals that all who are baptized in Christ are baptized into His death (Romans 6:3-4). That’s what kind of love God has given – love so profound – the Son of God took on human flesh to shed His blood on the cross to make peace for us sinners. Our text states – The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. What is foolish to the world – the crucifixion of Christ as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – is the center of hope and faith and trust for the Christian.


Every time I would visit Fred to bring Him the Lord’s Supper – the last being the 5th of this month – he would clearly acknowledge his hope in Christ. The liturgy leads us to speak of our sin and its due in ways not flowing from word smiths speaking their own minds. Rather - in the confession of sin we use in worship – the words flow from what God has revealed. Fred acknowledged his sin. Fred spoke his “amen” to the word of forgiveness - the word of absolution - that the risen Christ commanded be spoken to those who are repentant – who are turned from themselves and toward God’s gracious forgiveness. Fred thankfully received the body and blood of His Lord in the Sacrament. The sermon he heard earlier this month focused on a question asked and answered in heaven (Revelation chapter 7). Who are these clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?”  “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”  See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God.


Fred believed that God had sent His Son for His salvation. As Jesus said, O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.”(John 17:25). Faith in Jesus Christ – the Word made flesh -  is a gift of God – not something a heady electrical engineer would ever invent or patent on his own. Your loved one surely had earthly smarts – to work for General Motors on the Apollo Mission – to hold a patent through them on a gyroscope. When you shared that information, Emily, it gave me thought of the confirmation verse given to Fred back in June of 1941 at Luther Memorial Chapel in Shorewood. There from the 10th verse of Psalm 143 Pastor Englebrecht directed these words from God to teenager Frederick Pritzlaff – “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God!  Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”  While “Fritz” had the ability to tinker and to invent and to patent an instrument that helps keep objects on a level track – he knew that only God’s Spirit could lead him on level ground before God. It is through God’s Word of Law and Gospel that He leads His children on the level ground of repentance and forgiveness of sins. As you grieve Fred’s death – the loss of his earthly presence and personality - God comfort you – for God is faithful to His promises in Christ. What the risen Christ offers and bestows in humble means of water and word and bread and wine – Fred continued to receive. That’s level ground before God – that’s holy ground!  


See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. I would yet ask you to consider with me those favorite phrases of Fred it light of God’s eternal promises and gifts to His children.


“It’s good to see you, Fred. “It’s good to be seen.”  But then add We know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. For those who die in Christ it is eternally good to see Jesus face to face and eternally good to be seen by Him because they will be like him. They are not Jesus, but they are like Him. While the soul of a Christian is immediately in God’s presence when death comes – the witness of Scripture is that on the Last Day – when the dead are raised – body and soul are reunited. No longer are we given or taken in marriage for our love is no longer limited to one. Everyone in the new heavens and the new earth is first family. Dear family and friends of Fred – it is so good for Him to be seen without sin – without weakness – without loss – in the fullness that God created Him to be.


This truth also carries over to Fred’s retort “Things are seldom so good they couldn’t be better.”  Finally and at the last when we shall be like him and see him as he is – things cannot be better. What the Apollo Mission nor any endeavor or exploration of sinful man could obtain or give – the Son of God did purchase and does give. He is the one who threw the moon into place – and the sun and the vast reaches of the universe. Yet he created man as the crown of creation. When man rebelled and grabbed for God’s place in sin and received the wages of sin – death – God promised a redeemer – a Savior from Sin.


That’s what this season of Advent is about – His coming!  That’s what the season of Christmas is – God’s gift of His Son – who is still giving!  Don’t miss the substance of the coming weeks in the frenzy of earthly shopping or gatherings. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. Such was the purpose of Christ’s birth.


There came a day, however, when in one sense, it wasn’t good to see Him – spiked to the cross – bleeding and dying. But in a deeper sense – it is so beautiful to see – for it is God’s Judgment on the world’s sin. It is the Lamb of God dying for us – under our punishment. It is the clearest picture of God’s deep, searching, forgiving love for a broken world – for Fred – for you – for me (1 John 3:16). On the morning of the third day, however, these words were heard by the women seeking to anoint His corpse – “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.”


Fresh from the grave – it was so good for His deserting, denying disciples to see Him because He spoke the peace of His forgiveness to them – “Peace be with you.”  It is the same peace the risen Christ spoke to Fred in his home a few weeks ago. It is a peace beyond understanding – a peace the world cannot give – a peace in God’s heart toward us in His beloved Son.

Finally and at the last when we shall be like him and see him as he is – things cannot be better. In His presence is fullness of joy!  Dear family and friends of Fred – it is so good for Him to be seen without sin – without weakness – without loss – in the fullness God created Him to be. What God began in His baptism – He has now brought to fulfillment. Jesus desires for His children to be with Him where He is to see His glory. We might think of Jesus saying it this way – “It is good to be seen by You Fred – as I am – Lord of lords and King of kings!  You saw me in faith on the troubled earth – through the cross – the only way I can be seen by the faithful. Your faith in me and love for your neighbor was not perfect – but My forgiveness of You was!  Welcome home – where I am!  “It is good to see you Fred, pure and holy – as I am.”  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. We know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a