Funeral Sermon for Cathy Coleman – 1.21.23

+ In Memoriam: Cathy Coleman – January 21st, 2023 +

Psalm 91; Job 19:23-27; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; John 1:1-18

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA


“In Christ”


Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.


I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me…writes Paul in Galatians 2. (Gal. 2:20).


That’s a perfect way to describe Cathy’s life and faith in Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.


She was what C.S. Lewis said of Christians, that in Christ, we become “little Christs.” That when we are saved by grace through faith in Christ, as Luther says, we become Christ to one another.”


That’s how it was for Cathy. Whether she was spending time with Bob, Sterling, and Robbie; whether she was working in service to others or walking God’s green earth with her golfing friends; whenever she was here at church with Sunday School, bible study, or any other number of moments. Whatever it was she was doing, wherever she was going, with whomever she was talking, one thing was clear,  “It’s all about Christ,” she told me once while we were chatting.


It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. That is how Cathy lived and died and will live forever in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. So it is for each of you.


We live in Christ, as the prayer of St. Patrick so beautifully says…

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

For many years, Cathy taught our Sunday School children a little song they sing every Reformation service here at Beautiful Savior. The song is called “The Reformation Song.” And the refrain goes like this…By faith alone we’re justified, by grace alone we’re saved. We stand upon God’s word alone. To Christ alone give praise!


To Christ alone give praise.            It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.


As Cathy (known as Sunday School Cathy in our house) taught those words to our children, she was teaching them to joyfully and boldly confess Christ their savior. But that wasn’t all she was doing. She was also joyfully and boldly confessing that Christ was her savior. That she was God’s own child. Redeemed. Baptized. Loved. In Christ.


You see, Cathy believed and confessed our Lord’s words, that she who is forgiven much, loves much. That our sin and death is great, but Christ’s forgiveness and victory over death is greater.


These past few weeks, I’ve heard from family, friends, and church family alike, that Cathy radiated the love of Christ. That she shined the light of Jesus crucified and risen into her conversations, Christmas cards, and phone calls with friends and family. What was her secret? How was she an energizer bunny constantly beating the drum of God’s grace?


Cathy would be the first to remind us…It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The words of Christ dwelled richly with Cathy because the Lord dwelled with richly and graciously with her. The psalmist says it this way…


He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say[a] to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.


This is who God is for Cathy, and for you…the God who is with us. The Word made flesh for you. Who dwells among us. Immanuel. God with us. God with us in our tears. God with us in his word, water, body and blood. God with us in our daily vocations in life. God with us in death. God with us when Christ returns and calls forth our name and declares, “Awake o sleeper, and rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.”


For that is what Christ did for Cathy and does for all who are baptized. Christ takes his life, his death, his resurrection, the forgiveness of sins purchased and won by his blood on the cross for you, and he gives that to you as he pours out the water, word, and Holy Spirit upon you. The joy and love and light of Christ that Cathy was so well known for, began, as it begins for us all, by her baptism in Christ. And so it is for all who are baptized. All our sin is dead, drowned, washed away in Christ.


And if we are united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. God declares that same promise to us through Job’s sufferings. That in the midst of our own pain, suffering, grief, and even in the face of death, these words remain true… I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.


That is why the church hallway is covered with Alleluias today. That was one of Cathy’s favorite things to do. Help the Sunday School kids fill the hallway with Alleluias every Easter. Alleluia Christ is risen! we say. (He is risen indeed, Alleluia).


That was Cathy’s confession. And it’s ours as well. Especially on days like today. Today our pain and sorrow is deep. And yet, Christ’s healing love is deeper. Today our hearts are heavy and weighed down. And yet, Christ comes down to lift up; he dies to rise; and he rises to bring you and Cathy and all his saints with him. Today we grieve, but not without hope. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.


Christian hope is not a fanciful wish. As in, “I hope it rains,” or “I hope it snows.” No. Hope in Christ is sure. Certain. Steadfast. As Cathy wrote back in November’s newsletter, “We do not need to worry about the “ifs” in life. There are no “ifs” with our Lord and Savior! He finished it on the cross!”




And that is why Paul writes…we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[d]that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.


Until that day when our Lord returns, until that day when the dead are raised, and our mortal bodies put on immortality, and the saints in Christ rise from the dead. Until the day of resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Until Christ returns or calls us home, we live as Cathy lived and lives forever…in Christ.


Now the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard and keep you in Christ Jesus to life everlasting. Amen.

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

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2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
(253) 922-6977
(253) 922-6977