I hate funerals, and make excuses to avoid them. But sometimes the deceased was a friend, a relative, or a close acquaintance. And I have no choice but to sit through the ordeal and hate every second of it.
I hate everything about funerals—the usually dimly lit room, the mournful music, the casket, the funny smell, the wreaths, the cemeteries…. I especially hate to see people cry. That tugs at my heart and makes me want to cry as well.
I distinctively remember hating my father’s funeral. There lay the man I had known all of my life to be strong, witty, in control. He always had a word of wisdom to share, was always prepared to lend a hand. But there he lay in a gray casket, hands to his side, cold as stone, not caring that his first born son was nearby, yearning just to shake his hands, hear his voice, share an embrace.
I especially hate funerals for young people. I remember when my former roommate died, a young man in his late twenties. He had been a talented singer-songwriter and music composer with a bright future, a jokester with a booming voice and loud, hard laugh; he was always up to some prank. But Death got to him too.
The worst funeral I ever attended was for my youngest brother. He was only 6 years old—6 for crying out loud!—and had no business being dead! I remember the tiny white casket, the confused look on my other brother and sister’s faces. The worst part was watching my Mom completely fall apart. She wept hard, eyes red and bulgy, with a dazed look on her face. My Mom has never been the same.
I will say it again: I HATE FUNERALS!!!
But there is this one funeral that I’m excited about. I can’t wait to see his casket, and wonder aloud how big it will be, what color, what type. I look forward to seeing see his face lying there, dead as ever! What will be said in his eulogy? How will his life be described?
I know what you’re thinking. How can a Christian man, who claims to love his enemies, hate someone with such passion so as to want to see him dead? A good question. But if you knew the one of whom I speak, you’d be excited about his funeral too. In fact, I think you do know. And you, too, should look forward to Death’s funeral!
That’s right. One day, Death will die. He will be killed, eulogized and entombed, for the havoc he has wreaked on planet earth. Without warning he sweeps in on unsuspecting victims, regardless of where they are or what they’re doing—sleeping in their beds, traveling on cars or trains or boats or airplanes, socializing with friends and family. Some he causes to suffer for days or months or years, even decades, before snuffing the life out of them; others he takes suddenly. His methods are unconventional, his weapons multiple. He drowns, burns, suffocates, electrocutes, and starves. He shrivels bodies with cancer, drains them with AIDS, desiccates them with thirsts, riddles them with bullets, rips them to shreds with swords and knives and machetes. Great men and women are deprived us because of him. He shows no respect for the wise, no sympathy for the weak, no care for the young, no compassion for the innocent.
Death is a tyrant who deserves what’s coming to him. And I feel no sympathy for him. How could I? God did not create us to die. Death is an unwelcomed intruder, an unnatural occurrence, the result of a cosmic catastrophe. And God will put an end to his sorry existence.
“ For He [Christ] must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:25, 26). Jesus promises to reset Creation and make “all things new” (Revelation 21:5), and since death was not part of His original design, God will pack up “Death and Hades [and] cast [them] into the lake of fire” (20:14). Death will be whacked, execution-style!
Who hasn’t lamented the shocking passing of someone who died too young, or too suddenly, or too violently? Well take comfort because surely, one day, Death. Shall. Die!
—Sam Belony, 0458A032816M