Saturday, July 7, 2012

Deep Morbid Thoughts

Our whole family went to the funeral of a dear Christian man today.  It's led me to think many deep thoughts...which I figured I'd share.  My lack of blogging lately isn't due to my lack of thoughts...just the courage to share them.  Therefore, I shall preface these thoughts with making the point that these are just my thoughts...and not intended criticisms of the grieving.

In the last year I've attended several funerals.  Aside from my closeness in relationship to the person, the quickest way to start crying is if they have pictures of the newly departed.  The one person you weren't expecting to see, but are missing terribly...*boom*right there in front of you...It makes my heart race and tears fill my eyes.  This dear man today had a gorgeous Irish Tenor voice.  Even in his 80s he sang with beautiful timbre and power.  Considering his several recordings, it made perfect sense to have him "sing at his own funeral."  Again, the one voice no one is expecting to hear, but are all missing...gloriously singing about heaven!  Oh, it was breathtaking...tear jerking stuff!  I loved it!  I have full intentions of singing at my own funeral...and I'm already picking songs to, while I can sing them without crying!  maybe.

Now, I'll warn you here come the "deep thoughts"...I've noticed:...even, and maybe especially, in Christian circles that the people speaking, often directly address the corpse.  I don't get this!  Um, psst!  They can't hear you!!  The Pastor just said the earthly body remains here...only a shell...And...they're sort of busy worshiping God up in heaven right now.  Many people, when addressing the dead body in the casket, also say things like, "watch out for us until we get there, etc."....God is the only person who watches out for us in any way. Sadly, speaking, or praying, to the deceased doesn't do us any good.

Aside from the story in Luke 16 where the rich man speaks with Abraham and is told of the fixed chasm between heaven and hell...I don't know of any communication between the eternally living and the eternally dying.  Of course, we can have a great WIRELESS connection to God via prayer if we have a personal relationship with Him while here on earth.

Incidentally, although I know it's a parable and they shouldn't be pushed too far, isn't the point of the story in Luke that the refusal to repent and believe the gospel isn't due to lack of evidence (or seeing Lazarus' ghost) but due to hardened hearts!?  Aside from God changing the doesn't happen.

Whoa...a little off topic...but continuing on into deep thought territory...I also notice: a lot of speculation as to the activity of the deceased in heaven.  Our dear brother today LOVED to sing...and many talked of how he's singing with the choirs of angels.  Being a singer myself, this sentiment appeals to me, but I'm not sure it can be backed with Scripture.  When I look into myself...I deem it to really be pride...cuz I'm betting that the angelic creatures God created for the sole purpose of worshipping Him, sing a whole lot better than me.  Is my voice a gift from Him that I'm to use for the furthering of His Kingdom while I'm on earth?  You'd better believe it...but He isn't needing me to do anything up there...except fall at His feet in worship!  I'd like to clang a bunch of crowns at His feet too! Rev. 4:9 (ooo, a blog subject for another time)

Which leads me to the whole NEED thang.  I hear this more at the unexpected deaths of loved ones...especially children.  "God must have NEEDED another little angel."  Or..."God must have NEEDED another tenor."  I know it's people's way of comforting themselves when things don't make sense...and they struggle to trust that God has a plan, even in death!  It IS hard when people can't understand the WHY of God's timing for death!  But, let's be absolutely clear...God does not now, nor has He ever, needed anything from us.  He is Sovereign!  His ways are perfect...past finding out...and we must TRUST HIM in His plans for us.   

Romans 11:33-36, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen."

Hopefully many years from now, I want my funeral to be SHORT...a tear jerking song from me myself to those left behind...and a clear gospel message.  Today's funeral was sweet...with several cute anecdotes and happy memories...but the best part was the SHORT message based on this man's very own life verse, 1 Corinthians 2:2, "For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified."

Finally Home...

When engulfed by the terror
Of tempestuous sea
Unknown waves before you roll
At the end of doubt and peril is eternity
Though fear and conflict seize your soul

But just think of stepping on shore
And finding it heaven
Of touching a hand and finding it God's
Of breathing new air and finding it celestial
Of waking up in glory and finding it home

When surrounded by the blackness
Of the darkest night
O how lonely death can be
At the end of this long tunnel
Is a shining light
For death is swallowed up in victory

But just think of stepping on shore
And finding it heaven
Of touching a hand and finding it God's
Of breathing new air and finding it celestial
Of waking up in glory and finding it home

by Don Wyrtzen


Barbara H. said...

It does seem like it would be jarring to hear the dead person singing at first. But to hear a person singing about heaven while knowing they are actually there now...that must be really something.

I agree we don't need to address remarks to the deceased and we don't need to think God took them because He "needed" them or their abilities in that sense. My favorite verse to put on sympathy cards is John 17:24: Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

Pastor D said...

Ironic that you like things that are SHORT!

You better not sing at your funeral if I am attending, because I cry easily! But I don't mind if you sing at MY funeral! I hope you will!

By the way - the story of Lazarus and the rich man is not a parable.( Parables don't have names.) It is a story that Jesus uses as an illustration of his point - people need to believe the scripture... or they won't believe. (So much for "signs and wonders" winning the lost.)

Thanks for having the courage to blog. I love to read what you write. (I'm prejudiced.)

Pastor D said...

By the way... if God gave us singing as a means to worship Him here, what makes you think we will not use it even better there?

I find it hard to imagine that angels sing any better than you. In fact, I'm not sure that there are any references to angels actually singing at all.

Michelle said...

Keep up with those Morbid thoughts. You are not alone. I actually heard people complain once that a funeral had too much gospel message in it. Something I specifically want. Great post!