Amazing tradition…they throw a great party for you on the one day they know you can’t come.
~~The Big Chill.
Funerals. Ceremonies honoring the lives of those who have died. Funerals. How is it that the word funeral actually begins with the word ‘fun’? I mean, how many fun funerals have you been to?
Oh, there are all kinds of funerals. I guess by the time you get to be my age, that’s something you know. I mean, every situation is different. Every person and the way they react is different. I been to some that are gut wrenching and some that are celebrations. But the bottom line is, you’ve lost someone you love and that hurts. Funerals may be a lot of things, but I’d bet the farm on the fact that they aren’t fun.
I’ve always said that our pastor, Doug Heiman, preaches a great funeral. I don’t say that to be glib or to minimize what he does. I’m totally serious. I always leave knowing the deceased a little more. I leave comforted by the message of grace. But I also leave challenged.
A few years ago, my son had two friends that were killed in a wreck shortly after graduation. The girls both attended the same church and their funerals were one day apart. The first funeral was uplifting and encouraging. The second, while at the same church, was anything but. The difference? The message.
Two different pastors. Two different messages.
Tomorrow is the visitation for my brother’s funeral…the service is on Friday. I don’t know the priest or the pastor who will be doing the ceremony. I don’t know what they will say or preach. I know that it is never an easy situation when you love someone and lose them to death…even if that person is a Christian, as my brother is. But the next few days will be challenging for other reasons. Things that will make it difficult in ways it shouldn’t be. Things that will be hurtful…when there is enough hurting already.
I don’t know what the next few days will bring. But I do know one thing. I know who I am. My faith is who I am. My relationship with Christ is what defines me. It doesn’t mean I won’t hurt. It doesn’t mean I won’t be angry or sad. But it does mean that the circumstances won’t change who I am. I don’t understand why it has to be the way it is…but that doesn’t alter what I believe…or in whom.
So my prayer is for my family and friends that will be there. And for those who can’t be there, due to the terrible winter weather, that cut a swath across the country and kept many at home that otherwise would have been with us. I pray that those who will have a voice might use that voice to comfort and encourage…to reassure and uplift.
Most of all, I ask God for his peace and strength. And I thank Him for the body of Christ that has been covering us in prayer. It is felt. It is appreciated. Thank you.
But I know Whom I have believèd,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.