Monday, December 10, 2012
After doing so many funerals for so many years, I realize someone's gonna do mine sooner or later with or without my help.
God knows I haven't been afraid of death since acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Savior; though I'm not into pain as I've explained to folks who've asked why I don't have a FTS or H-D or Frrreeeedom tatt on my right biceps.
Actually, my covenant brothers will preside at mine unless I assist at theirs first.
I've even picked out the music: (1) "original" recordings of Sknyrd's Simple Man, Holden's The Lost Boy, and Schwartz's Corner of the Sky for the prelude; (2) me singing "This Is My Desire" between the Bible lessons and remarks which should challenge Bill, Dave, Harlan, Ric, and Tyler; (3) Crowder's recording of Wholly Yours after the message; and (4) Charles Wesley's "And Can It Be?" as the closing hymn avec organ with no apologies to hyper-Calvinists who are as Biblically lame as hyper-Arminians.
Really, I'm kinda excited about it/Him if you know what I mean.
Even more really, anyone who really, really, really believes in what it's/He's all about lost all fear about the last breath as soon as Jesus became really, really, really real to 'em as Lord and Savior.
Simeon comes to mind.
"There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel's consolation...It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before He saw the Lord's Messiah."
In other words, Simeon wanted to see/know/experience the Messiah before cashing in.
He couldn't/wouldn't and didn't wanna die without it/Him.
After years of waiting/praying/looking/whatever, "Guided by the Spirit, he entered the Temple complex."
Baby Jesus was brought to Jerusalem's Temple because Mary and Joseph, being good Jews who'd already circumcised their boy 8 days after birth according to the covenant with Abraham, were now, 40 days later, bringing Mary to the Temple for ritual cleansing.
Parenthetically, I don't get the ritual cleansing thing. Moms were considered unclean for 40 days after birth and could not enter the Temple without some kinda offering that would declare 'em clean again. Really, I don't get it; which is O.K., I think, because it's just a side story to the big story. Don't wanna miss the forest for the trees! Don't wanna miss the way for some rabbit trail! Or any other metaphor that works for ya!
Getting to the big story, "When the parents brought in the child Jesus,...Simeon saw Him, went to Him, took Him into his arms, praised God, and said, 'Now I can die! My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord! My eyes have seen Your salvation!'"
Translation: "Now I'm ready to die! I've seen Jesus! I know there's so much, much, much more after the last breath in time!"
Here's the point.
When we embrace Jesus into our lives as Lord and Savior, that's when we're ready to die and no longer afraid to talk about what's gonna happen sooner or later with or without our help.
Concomitant to doing lots of funerals, I spend lots of time with dying people; reminding me that, someday, everybody is gonna return from the cemetery but me...or you.
I see lots of folks who are scared to/of death.
I see many folks who aren't.
Jesus makes all of the difference between those souls: "Now I'm ready to die! I've seen Jesus! I know there's so much...!"
You can always tell who's believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
They're the ones who aren't afraid of what happens after the last breath.
I don't know of any human experience/inevitability that betrays a person's real...
Lots of folks are so afraid of it; seeing it as the final punctuation of their...
Many aren't; knowing the best is yet to come because of Jesus who promised paradise for anyone who embraces Him.
It separates the...
A guy a few years older than I am right now said to me some time ago, "I've been waiting all of my life to sink my teeth into something only to discover I have no teeth left!"
Fortunately, Jesus puts teeth into our faith; especially when the final human experience/inevitability comes to our...
That's/He's the best funeral planning.
Jesus is why we can say with Simeon, "Now I'm ready to die! I've seen Jesus! I know there's so much...!"
When we get that/Him, we get why He's the reason for...
Blessings and Love!