Today I took my first funeral. I was extremely worried and concerned about it and have been for a number of days. In the middle of the night last night I woke up mentally preaching the message I was going to deliver! There are some things in life where it does not matter too much whether one makes a hash of it. But on an occasion like this, which can be so significant for a grieving family, one must get it right.
The situation was made so much easier by that fact that the man who died, aged 83, was a believer. He had been for some 50 years. He was a quiet man who loved the Lord and loved his word. On the several times I visited him and his wife and we read the Bible together, every word was savoured. No less so on the last occasion I visited him in hospital. Here was a man who had found the source of true life. He had discovered that though his body was decaying he was being renewed inwardly and that “the best is yet to come”, as he would often say. It was a delight to have known him.
Of course in a situation like this our thoughts inevitably turn to Christ. It was because of the grace of God in Christ that this man had become what he had become. Christ is the fullest expression of God’s being, the altogether lovely one, the fairest of the fair and it is his greatest delight to transform men and women into his own likeness, full of grace and truth. We give thanks to him for his amazing work of restoration, making the filthy clean, the wicked righteous, the poor rich, the ugly beautiful, all reaching its consummation with the resurrection of the dead, where God’s chosen receive new spiritual bodies, able to serve and worship him forever.