Gospel in a Funeral

“You know what is weird, Christopher, seeing both ends of my sister’s marriage…” My dad squinted as he thought of the pain his sister is going through. “The whole family now needs to re-learn what ‘normal’ is.”

My cousins left for school this last Monday morning expecting to come home to their father. Instead, they came home to find out that he died on the way to the hospital. It was so sudden.

Boom. Just like that. The painful reality that life ends slammed them in the chest. Now they need to conform to a new normal. Their dad is gone. No longer able to interact with him. No longer will they see him at the dinner table. They will not see him sip coffee from his favorite mug again.

This has got to be unnatural.

It cant be the way things were meant to be.

Scripture declares over and over again that our lives on this ball of dirt is so temporary.  Over and over again we are reminded that our lives are short. James says that our lives are a vapor.  We are here one second and then gone the next. Our lives are incredibly short.

Now I dont just mean that they are short in the sense that we could die at any moment, which we could.  When Scripture says that our lives are but a second on this earth, it is not referencing the sudden death of a child or young adult (but in many senses it is and these serve as reminders of the brevity of life).  This means that even if you lived 100 full years.  Even if you lived to be 104 years old or 115, your life is still no less vaporous. Your life would still be considered like dew here in the morning and gone in the morning.

But since days go by and one second comes after the preceding, life goes on. We assume once again that we have control. We assume that we have the next day, and the day after that, and even the day after that.

Though we often dont think of it, deep inside of our souls we know that death is not normal. In some immaterial part of our selves, we know that death is unnatural. For a man to be living one second and then gone the next, the impermanence sobers.

But where is the good news in this? Man’s life is short. We take for granted our lives. And we know death is unnatural.

Here is the good news: the vapor-like state of humanity in God’s grand metanarrative points forward to the day when He will ultimately reconcile and redeem all things to Himself. Since before time began, God already knew that He would have to redeem everything He was going to create. Originally created pure we see quickly soonafter creation is wrought with sin and death. God’s hand immediately gets to work with establishing a people from whom the savior would come with which He would bless the world.

The Savior, the God-man Jesus, came to earth and allowed Himself to be murdered on the popular method of execution at the time, the cross. On the cross He bore the weight of our sin. He died. And He rose! In His resurrection from the dead, he defeated death. Jesus defeated the great equalizer for all men.

It is in Jesus’ victory over death where those who are saved by Him share also in that victory. Does that mean that Christians will not die here on earth? No, of course not. It does mean, however, that those who persevere to the end will be raised from the dead when Christ comes back and will rule forever with Him over the new heavens and new earth which He will create.

This allows us to sob,

deeply mourn,

grieve.

This allows us to deeply morn the death of our loved ones. This gives us permission to feel loss. This mourning is not done without hope though. We have the hope that God will redeem, will save, will help, will resurrect.

Through tear filled eyes and anguished souls we can have confidence in our God who saves sinners that He will someday put an end to this unnatural vapor-like state of our lives and establish an eternity devoid of sorrow and pain and fill it with true joy. Praise be to God.

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Posted in Graveyard, The Gospel
2 comments on “Gospel in a Funeral
  1. Derek Hiebert says:

    Thanks for this sobering reminder, Chris. I have to admit that I often am a little paranoid about death – which is really a belief in a lie, because if I’m trusting in and secure in Christ and his resurrection, then I have nothing to fear or be worried about. And, Scripture is also right, that dying this week or in forty years is still the same vaporous existence. So, probably the question I need to be confronted with every single day is – How will I live this day, this hour, this moment, this ‘vapor’ in light of the eternal reality in the gospel? Realizing, of course that I have absolutely nothing to lose, everything to gain, and therefore I am free to give everything.

  2. Chris Lash says:

    Thanks Derek.

    “How will I live this day, this hour, this moment, this ‘vapor’ in light of the eternal reality in the gospel?”
    Yeah it is a liberatingly sobering reminder. Thankfully it takes the weight off of us and puts us in our spot of participating with God to seek change in neighborhoods, cities, towns, families, and our own lives.

    Chris

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I am fighting to believe.
My fight is the fight to believe. I also fight to rest and have joy in my God.
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