Funerals for Christians are interesting things to observe. Yes, there are a great deal of tears and plenty of loving hugs to go around, but the thing non-believing witnesses to funerals don't get is . . . the celebration.
It is true that ALL people will miss loved ones regardless of their belief systems, but for the Christian there is another feeling present at funerals. Along with the despair of loss is the additional feeling of . . . hope. Read these words from Jesus and see if you can find a reason to hope.
"16 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” - John 16:16
That's a little vague I guess until you link that verse to HIS death and subsequent resurrection. Let me offer you another passage that might help make things more clear.
"3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin -7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God." - Romans 6:3-10
When we place our faith in God, and we accept the fact that Jesus died for our sins, our old self dies. We then receive God's promised Holy Spirit and we become born . . . again. And just as Jesus rose from the dead, so shall we rise to a promised new life.
THAT is why we who believe in Christ celebrate at the funerals of our brothers and sisters!
"8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. " - 2 Corinthians 5:8
During the funeral the pastor told us that Jean's wish was that all of her children would serve the Lord. Did you catch that? Jean's wish was for others, not for herself. More evidence of the faith that carried her through her illness.
Before I left the funeral I prayed with my young friend Cheyenne, Jean's granddaughter. I prayed for her and the new life that is growing inside of her - Amelia. I prayed for Amelia, a new life just beginning here on earth. As I did so, I couldn't help but think of Jean, also a new life just beginning . . . in heaven. There is no fear for those who believe. Only hope. May you rest in that hope today.
He Rose - Deluge