About a month ago I attended the funeral of an old work colleague. He was only in his mid-forties but died of heart disease. He left behind a young family whom he loved dearly and was very proud of.
The service was very gentle. We sang ‘Amazing Grace’ by John Newton and we were invited to say, ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. During the Eulogy the Funeral Conductor read out the poem “If Tomorrow Starts Without Me” by David Romano which is a poem taken from the point of view of a person who has passed away and, it is implicated, that they are now in heaven with God and His Angels.
It was all very nice and left those who weren’t Christians with the feeling of comfort that the person was safe and secure with God, smiling down on his family and enjoying his eternity.
There are times when, in the face of blatant lies, that you just want to shout! Obviously this was not one of those times but I fear for the Funeral Company that conducted the service because they will be judged by God for misleading vulnerable people into thinking that their recently deceased loved-ones are safe with God.
As Christians we understand that the Bible is clear on what happens when you die. If you’ve confessed your sins, accepted Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour and turn from your sins to Christ Jesus; then you will be with God for eternity. As the Bible says itself,
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
Anyone who doesn’t do this, will not be saved from the eternal separation from God and the eternal anguish and terrifying horror that that will entail.
So what should our response be when we are invited to a non-Christian funeral? I think it is simply to use the time during the service to pray for the family and those affected and ask God for a sensitive heart and words should the opportunity arise to share the reality of God’s love for them. It is too late for the deceased but not too late for the family to know the real warmth and love of Father God in their pain.
This experience contrasts with a Christian funeral that I have been to.
At that funeral we were all sad, upset, and in need of comfort but we knew that that person was already in a much better place and having the best experience of their lives!
Knowing that when a person who has died is with the Lord, even if it’s unexpected and there is great pain in their passing, it is a great comfort to know that they are truly safe and we shall see them again.
Be encouraged that God is always with you and shall never leave you,
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5