When you go to the funeral of a Christian, there’s solid joy in knowing they are with Jesus, currently
enjoying all the riches that are promised in His presence. There are lots of stories, some funny (at
yesterday’s service here in Kansas for our good friend, Jim Brown, mostly outrageously funny), some
serious, some replete with thanksgiving for having known him, been blessed by him, been ‘fathered’ by
him (he was Sue’s spiritual dad). Reassuring, hope-filled Scriptures pop up plenty in those circumstances.
Fear is absent.
But what I’ve been reflecting on, is what is our problem with the death of a loved one? Off the top of my
head, here goes: I think we hate being reminded so brusquely that life is fragile. That our life is fragile. I
think we hate our ordered lives, our routines, being blown up, events canceled, travel arrangements all
of a sudden required (plus figuring out who’s going to take care of the iguana!) I think we hate being
forced to come to grips with a normally-kept-in-the-background reality that our days are numbered and
we have no idea of what that number is! (our friend’s number of days was 32,535). So, sometimes, the
‘weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth’ is way more self-centered than we prefer to admit.
Or maybe all that rant is just me confessing my preference for life to seem steady, set, solid, unchanging,
uninterruptable. But I have a suspicion that I’m not alone in my desire for the neatness and tidiness of
what I now know (as if constant change isn’t happening every moment).
On balance, our apprenticeship with Jesus includes all of life, death, and eternity with Jesus. Scripture
tells us that the death of one of His children is precious in His sight. He loves when we ‘graduate to
Glory’ to be with Him, far from the ills of the world and the fragility of mortal bodies. I think He loves
when His other children understand that one day they, too, will graduate. It might even be His heart for
us to live in gratitude for every day of our numbered days, to recognize the relative brevity of our time
here, and to fix our hearts on things above and not on things of earth. You know? That might even make
us more effective for His Kingdom! It might even line us up more closely with Jesus’ teachings. What an
intriguing thought! I’ll have to give that thought some more thought. What do you think? PD

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