By Joel Hess –
Recently I led a funeral service for a 98 year old World War Two vet. When I mention to someone I am doing a funeral, without exception I will be asked, “How old was he?” If the deceased was young (remarkably, the definition of ‘young’ changes with one’s own age), the friend will inevitably react with shock and sympathy. The sympathizer will remark how unnatural and wrong it is for someone to die so young.
However, if the departed man’s age is, say 98, I will without doubt be assured, “Well, that’s just fine! He lived a good life! He was lucky to live that long! That’s how it’s supposed to be!”
When the daughter of the man I buried this past week called, she spoke with tears. When I visited the family and met with the widow, heartache and sorrow filled the room. Even the man’s favorite dog lay motionless, full of melancholy, pouting. Paul tells us, “all creation groans…”
Whether you are 3 weeks old or 98, or a dog: death sucks! It shocks. It steals. It breaks hearts. Even Jesus wept as he saw the mourners at Lazarus funeral.
We are told by the Oprah priests of this evil age that death is a part of life. That it’s all natural. Or as that stupid hymn from the Church of Hollywood declares in the movie, ‘The Lion King,’ “It’s the circle of life!” It’s all good!
No it ain’t! Death has no part of life. Even that old man’s dog knew that! You would have to be dumber than a dog to not shed a tear at a funeral. There is no difference between dying young our dying old! Everyone dies too young.
We weren’t supposed to die in the first place. Death is the result of sin. If you die, it is never with dignity. It is never with control. It’s with gasping, odors emitting, stuck eyes staring. It isn’t pretty. Death is sure proof that you are a son of a gun sinner. Of course we don’t need a funeral to prove that. Goodness, just look at the trail of tears behind you!
There is no comfort in telling someone that their loved one lived a long life! Who cares, if he’s gone forever, rotting in the ground! There is no comfort in memories, for memories only remind us of what is no longer! No tears will be dried by telling someone that death is just a part of life and it’s only natural. That crap only works in cartoons.
There is only comfort in declaring the truth! Jesus kicked death’s ass! He declared, “I am the resurrection and the life, whoever lives and believes in me will never die!” Then He screamed at the corpse of Lazarus – get up! More than that, He walked out of His own grave calmly, in complete control as he folded up his grave clothes and left the tomb. He will shout the same to your corpse! He has given you the victory! For free! He will raise you up on the last day. He will raise everyone from the 3 week old to the 98 year old, even all creation, even that ole dog groaning by his master’s tomb.
The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! Repent and believe the Good News!