Monday, July 21, 2014
I believe in the resurrection of the dead. . .
Well put! Read more here. . .
It is absolutely amazing to me how many funerals of Christians include perhaps a line or two from Scripture (never about the resurrection of the flesh or eternal life), some of the desceased's favorite music, and testimonials about what a good person the dead was by family and friends. I blame the funeral industry in part but most of all I blame Christians who have either forgotten about or given up on the promise of the resurrection of the dead and the gift of eternal life. It is as if we have drunk the koolaid of modernity and believe that not only is your best life now but the only real life of consequence is now. So in death we are left only to comfort ourselves with the remembrance of that life and some vague pious platitudes about living on in memory or reunited in the somewhere out there. Worse, we draw upon the theology of The Lion King to talk about the circle of life. I actually was at a funeral where a granddaughter who had given birth about the time of her father's death spoke about the comfort the "circle of life" gave her -- a daughter born as her father dies.
How goofy we have become in our practical theology! Comfort is distance and life is now so we prop up the dead as if they had not died and proclaim how we will always remember them. Well, cemeteries are filled with people who are gone AND forgotten. This is not our comfort. Christ is risen! That is our comfort. Every funeral includes those words so associated with Easter Sunday. Christ is risen! Because He lives, we live also. That is our consolation. Thank God we have memories but praise the Lord even more that we are not left to memories as our comfort in death. The dead in Christ live. They wait with us for the great and awesome day of the Lord when we shall wear the new and glorious bodies Christ already wears, when we shall enter into the joy of our Master, and when He shall open to us the rooms in our Father's house which He has prepared for us.
Not every appeal to the heart is sentiment! Jesus comforts the heart but not with sentiment. Do you believe this? He asked of Martha. At the funeral we raise our voices in response to the voice of the Lord. Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the resurrection and the life. That he who dies shall live and death cannot take from Him what You have won and graciously bestowed. Come on, Christians, make sure that the Christian funerals of your loved ones speak this hope we confess in the Creed every Sunday:
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,
and I look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.