I haven’t been to many funerals in my life. Even a fewer amount of them are ones I really remember. To be honest, I can really only recall four of them. The last two that I can recall occurred within the last six months (with one of them occurring in the last 36 hours). These are the two I want to contrast because the differences between them are obvious and quite painful, but they end up serving us a very important message.
You see the one I attended in January was of a very unexpected suicide of a family friend who probably didn’t know the love that Jesus had for her – and the people around knew the same things. The weight of the room was heavy and to speak was to walk on a floor of broken glass with your bare feet. Even the minister – clearly hired – had a difficult time giving a message that brought any comfort to the few that had gathered that cold, winter morning. Matter-of-factly, it was the “deadest” funeral I had ever been to. No life, no promise, and no hope.
The funeral I had just attended was the last great-grandmother of my wife. Her death, although unexpected, was silently welcome as she has been sick and worsening over the past few years at a nursing home. Although not a Christ Follower her whole life, when 9/11 occurred, the nursing home minister happened to be present and my wife’s great-grandmother accepted in the Lord as was baptized in the cold river water in her eighties. She continued to live on in her faith until she passed away and none doubt where she will be spending eternity. Of course, there were still tears of sadness, but there were also tears of joy mixed in as well. It was a funeral where you could feel as comfortable as one could feel given the circumstance.
The hope that we obtain through Christ is priceless, matchless and eternal. We need to be not only living this message, but also spreading it to others fearlessly as we should.