As a pastor over these many years, the number of funerals conducted has been extensive, and each one has some type of uniqueness to it. I remember many of them, and recall what people wanted or did not want included. The hardest was probably those of children; that does not surprise me, because I notice that when a statistic is mentioned on the news of the death of individuals, in qualified numbers they usually mention, with X number being children.
In most cases people will lay a flower on the casket before it is lowered. Sometimes they will choose to drop the flower into the grave; on one occasion the family followed a tradition and gradually threw in pieces of a puzzle until the entire puzzle was on or next to the casket. There are many other traditions involved related to Bibles being placed in a casket before it is closed, and some even opened to a particular portion of Scripture that was a favorite of the deceased.
There are numerous references to deaths and funerals in the Bible. When David lost his child, he had been mourning because of the child’s illness, but upon the death of the child he came into the house of the Lord and worshipped. Because of his manner of dealing with the result of his sin, we find him explaining to his servants his actions: “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, “Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me, that the child may live. But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:22-23) Strong words of acceptance of God’s will in the matter.
Some of the Old Testament Prophets were involved in the restoration to life of individuals they encountered. In the New Testament we have the restoration of life to Lazarus. (John 11:1-44) In the 35th verse we read the shortest verse in the Scriptures: “Jesus wept.” Further we read the reason, “See how He loved him!” It is reasonable that when death takes the life of one we love to be involved in a good “bawling session”. Surely we rejoice in the confidence that we shall see them shortly, and that knowledge brings healing by the Holy Spirit of God… one remembrance at a time. If you are like me, you will thank the Lord daily for the bond you had with that individual, child or adult, and for what the future holds in eternity with our transformed and glorified bodies.
We all have an appointment with death that God has determined. The day remains uncertain, but the guarantee of our presence with HIM is determined by our attitude toward Him here and now!
A reminder: “AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” Acts 2:21