Monday, March 30, 2015


Through the years I have conducted a number of funerals.  They were all very important moments in the lives of the family and friends who had experienced loss.  But one funeral is particularly vivid in my memory...  It was the funeral for two 15-year-old boys who had been struck and killed by a fast moving freight train on a railroad trestle just outside of Joplin, MO.  A double funeral service was held in the chapel at Ozark Christian College.  A large group had assembled that day to grieve with the loved ones of these two young men.

I looked out on Shawn’s family, seated on the left side of the chapel, and David’s family, seated on the right side.  I could not help but notice the difference in how the two families were dealing with their heart pain.  Shawn’s family was inconsolable.  Shawn was from a racing family.  His was not a Christian family and Shawn himself was not a Christ-follower.  The members of David’s nuclear family all wore what I would describe as ‘bittersweet’ expressions.  David had committed his young heart and life to Jesus Christ.  His father and mother and sisters were all involved in Bible Bowl and faithful in church. 

There is a significant difference between a non-Christian and a Christian funeral.  The difference can be defined in one word: Hope.
There is a huge difference between those at a funeral who feel they are saying ‘Goodbye’ to a loved one forever and those who are confident they are saying, “So long… until we meet again in the greater life.”  Standing at the casket after a funeral service, as people pass by their deceased loved one, it is sometimes heart-rending and sometimes heart-warming to hear what people say to a departed loved one in such a time of intense grief.

A pastor friend said he once watched a woman in her 60’s lean over the body of her mother, in her 80’s.  Both were deeply committed Christians.  They had been close.  Fighting back tears, the daughter kissed her mother on the forehead, and whispered, “Nighty-night Momma.  See you in the morning.”

This calls to mind I Thessalonians 4:13, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep [have died], that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”

Pray with me… Thank you Heavenly Father, for the promise of Easter… that whoever lives and believes in Jesus, Your Son and our Savior, will never die.  Thank you that when we, or our loved ones, come to the end of this life; there is life eternal because of the empty cross and the vacated tomb.  Thank you for our blessed hope. 
In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Yoked with you for Him who rose on Easter!

Pastor Ken

No comments:

Post a Comment