Call To Attention for the Funeral in memory of Douglas Lee Dipple and for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
25Jesus said…”I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” John 11
Gracious and Compassionate Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who art the author of life on each side of death, we cast all our grief upon thee, in faith confident that Thou dost care. With the suddenness of this death the meaning of your ways are kept in a mist from us, yet we confess that thy ways are higher than our ways, and thy thoughts higher than our thoughts. In this hour of bereavement, be an ever-present help in time of need, send forth a double portion of they Spirit for our comfort, and sustain us with faith when reason cannot comprehend the depths of your providence. In Jesus Christ name we pray. AMEN
* Scripture Reading
4″O LORD, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
5Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!
6Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
7″And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you.
8Deliver me from all my transgressions.
Do not make me the scorn of the fool (Psalm 39)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. (II Corinthians 1)
1God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46)
The word ‘eulogy’ literally means ‘good saying.’ Its practice in funerals is the desire to accentuate the blessing that the departed was to those in this life because of their character. We speak eulogies not with the purpose of divinizing the deceased but rather to recognize that as all men bear the image of God so there is in the character of all men that which can be esteemed and well spoken of. In speaking the eulogy we are extolling the one we love who has gone to sleep but more importantly we are praising the one who gave life, breath and character to all that have come from His Creative hand.
When we speak of the life and character of Doug we are mindful of his easygoing character. Doug was not a particularly anxious sort and had the ability to field life in a way that spoke of a quiet confidence.
Perhaps this ability also accounts for his charm. Doug had the ability to put people at ease and make them comfortable. Somebody in the last few days put it this way when speaking to his family, “Doug was the kind of person who had the ability to make people feel, who he had only recently met, like they were his best friend.” None of us here should underestimate that kind of gift and many of us should pray that we might be given more of that ability.
However this gift was not a mere ability to glad-hand or to do a snow job on people. As we all read in the Lansing State Journal story Doug put feet to his friendships. I suspect the type of kindnesses extended by Doug that Mr. Middaugh recorded in that Journal article were not unique to Mike. I suspect that many here would echo Mr. Middaugh’s sentiments that Doug “would think about anybody else before himself.” The outpouring of affection that we have seen for Doug the past few days confirms his ability to have been more to people then just a really nice acquaintance. In the relationships he had with people there is every bit of evidence that there existed genuine depth.
Doug also retained a character trait that is not seen with a great deal of prevalence and that was his general respect for those who were a generation or two his senior. If you listened to Doug in conversations with those kind of people his address was consistently laced with respect…
‘Yes, Mr. Martens.’
‘Thank You Mrs. Douma.’
‘Good to see you Pastor.’
I would suspect that this was a gift that he learned in the home.
In my direct experience there are two things that I clearly remember about Doug. First Doug was intelligent. When I came to Charlotte Doug would have been about 13 years old and so he attended my initial catechism Sunday school classes. Doug consistently mastered the material and showed that mastery on the exams that were given. Further, he would interact with me during the class showing that he comprehended what was being taught.
Also, I recall Doug has having a keen sense of humor. In point of fact the personal memories I will always have of Doug is of him laughing or smiling. My memory of Doug’s sense of humor was reinforced in these past few days as somebody related to me the anecdote of how Doug had convinced a sizable portion of Spartan Motors that in a city without a port they were going to start building submarines. This planted rumor spread so far that at a plant meeting somebody unknown to Doug raised their hand and asked if the rumors were true that Spartan would soon be building submarines.
These are but a humble portion of the greater amount that all of you here know and remember. I can only encourage you to hold fast the imprints upon you that the life of Doug Dipple left.
We thank our Lord Christ for the traces of His fingerprints that can be detected upon the life of Doug.
It is my earnest prayer that you will pause to listen to the next 10 minutes for it is entirely possible that you will hear something more important in the next 10 minutes then you will hear in the next 10 years.
Doug was what Scripture calls a ‘Covenant child.’ In the Church that means a great deal, not least of which is the God of the Bible claimed Doug as His own in Baptism.
And even though God’s people might neglect God’s covenant claim upon them by absenting themselves from the proclamation of the Word and from feasting upon Christ in the Sacrament that doesn’t negate God’s ownership claim upon his people who he has marked as His own in Baptism.
Well, in the few minutes that we have what shall we say of this God of the Bible that has a special claim upon those brought to the Baptismal font but also lays a general claim upon all who live and breathe?
First Scripture records that God is big and man is small. Of course our tendency is to turn around this truth so that man is big and God is small. Still, the Bible teaches that God sits upon the rim of the earth and that its inhabitants are as Grasshoppers.
Scripture further teaches us that this Great Big Transcendent God is so Pure and Just that any creature that has any sliver of evil about them cannot be allowed into His presence, for to keep time with such sinfulness would call into question God’s Holy character.
Obviously what we have said already is not good news for people like you and I have more then just a sliver of evil to contend with. Indeed the Bible teaches that we were born with a human nature that is evil. We were born not able to commune with God due to God’s awesome purity. Indeed Scripture teaches that we increase our debt to God every day.
So, how do we resolve this dilemma?
On the one hand that God has a claim on us that if we fail to take seriously will result in eternal separation from the good life that only He can give — the good life that many of you here desire.
While on the other hand, because of our moral impurity, it is impossible for God to even hear any of our appeals for help.
The answer that the Church offers to this dilemma, in submission to God’s revelation in Scripture is the person and work of Jesus Christ.
God, with regard to His mercy and the need of fallen men, out of love, sent forth Christ to be the means by which His Just anger against our moral impurity would be extinguished through the punishment of His Son on the Cross.
During the Christmas season we celebrate this coming of Christ to save His people from their sins. During the Easter season that is just ahead of us we celebrate that Christ triumphed over the death that we deserved insuring that we likewise triumph with Him.
You see my friends Scripture teaches that the soul that sins shall surely die. Every sin must be visited with its proper penalty or God stands being accused of being unjust. Scripture further teaches that in what happened in the death of Christ on the Cross, God out of regard for His own merciful character, decided that He would lay the penalty of the sin of His people, people like you and I, upon the God-Man Jesus. On the Cross Jesus takes the sin of His people and in repentance He covers us with His obedience – an obedience that makes us a delight to the Father.
The result of this work of the Cross where God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself is that people like you and I can know what it means to live the good life in fellowship with the God who created us. The rejection of this God who sacrifices Himself to restore us to our full humanity results in an increasingly inhuman life that is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.
This is the God who laid claim on Doug in Baptism. And this is the God who even now offers Himself to those who recognize themselves to be living on the wrong end of a life that is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.
Christian Confession – Apostles Creed
Prayer For Family
Benediction / Dismissal – Numbers 6:24-26