Death is an enemy. The Christian who has lived his life at peace with God and with his fellow man does not experience death as an enemy, but the doorway into eternal happiness. But for those who he leaves behind death is an enemy. Someone who has been part of their very existence has been torn away and his presence will no longer be seen, heard or felt in this life. They have been wounded, and those who were closest to the one who has departed have the deepest wounds. We do not mourn for him, but for ourselves. The wounds will heal, but it will take time.
A funeral is meant to be part of that healing process, it should offer comfort, hope and direction to those who are grieving. Today there was a funeral in our congregation for someone who was suddenly taken from us in the midst of a working day. He died of a heart attack, with no time to say good-bye. Yet as he lived each day to the glory of His Lord, we can have an assurance that he has finished his course on earth and received the prize. I believe that comfort, hope and direction was plainly offered to all who attended today.
We have attended other funerals that did not leave us with a good feeling. When a minister assures us that our dear departed is now in heaven, all his trials are over, even though in his life he never mentioned the name of Jesus except as a curse, that leaves us with an empty feeling. No true comfort, hope or direction has been offered.
It is no better when the one speaking at a funeral appears to believe in anything but God and offers airy-fairy pagan fantasies. There is no comfort, hope or direction in that.
Sometimes we have been surprised. This spring we gathered at a cemetery for the interment of the ashes of a relative who had died of a drug overdose. We were not expecting any religious content, yet the youngest son of the departed one invited his minister to say a few words. This son had seriously messed up his life but unknown to us, he had recently become a Christian and made a 180° turn in his life. The minister read the verses where Jesus promised that He was going to prepare a place for us. Then he said that Jesus is preparing a place for prepared people. That means every one of us, but we need to prepare to go there. Then he had a short prayer. He probably spoke for two minutes, yet it was all there. Comfort, hope and direction had been offered to each one of us. We felt thankfulness and awe that God can work in places we least expect to find Him.
One thought on “Funerals”
I am often in awe of your ability to express the Biblical view on today’s pertinent issues. It is not just the expression that in spires, but the knowledge that these are the convictions of a blood-bought brother in Christ. Continue to hold up the torch of truth!