Funerals

All Fun and No Funerals Makes Jack a Dumb Boy

Death is an occasion and funeral homes are a place marked by much sadness and grief. And yet, according to Holy Scripture, there is something potentially beneficial about such an occasion and such a place. As the writer of Ecclesiastes puts it, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting” (7:2 NIV). To paraphrase, “Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties” (NLT). Why would the Bible make such an assertion? What is this passage teaching us?

What the Text Isn’t Saying

To begin with, let’s consider what this passage is not teaching:

1. It’s not teaching that life is a drag

The writer of Ecclesiastes is not forbidding or discouraging us from enjoying ourselves at festive occasions. In other words, the text is not teaching that it’s wrong to celebrate and to be happy. Earlier in the book the writer says, “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (3:4). Later, he says, “When times are good, be happy” (7:14). According to the New Testament, the Lord Jesus himself celebrated weddings (John 2:1-11) and enjoyed feasts (Matt 11:19). So it’s not necessarily wrong to be to be in “the house of feasting.” God isn’t a cosmic killjoy!

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Two Lessons from Two Radically Different Funerals

By Jordan Standridge. Reposted from The Cripplegate.

Funerals are a gift from God. I know that sounds crazy, but they are a God-given tool to force us to reflect on the brevity of life, and how finite we are as human beings. I truly do believe that humans should attend as many funerals as possible during their lives. It is that good for your soul.

I had the privilege of attending two recently, and they could not have been more different from each other.

The first was that of a believer. One of the sons (who is an elder at our church) gave the eulogy, and the other son, who is a Presbyterian pastor, gave the message. At least 100 people were there. The second was for a non-believer. I had the privilege of giving the message at that one to a crowd of 10 people at the local funeral home.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the incredible difference between the two funerals. Both individuals were in their 80s, both had lived long lives full of experiences, and yet, the outcome of their funerals could not have been more different. Two reminders were very evident as I reflect on this particular “funeral Friday.”

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Reflections from a Homeless Man’s Funeral

Reposted, with permission, from Randy White Ministries.

This week I officiated a funeral for a homeless man. It was a sociologists dream. Every “misfit” you could imagine was in the small crowd. Several of the men I had met previously just because I’m the pastor of the church on the “main drag,” so I was somewhat familiar with a few of them. Others I had never seen.

It was a very “free flowing” service, to say the least. Since homeless people like to talk, and since I didn’t know the man, I let people share (dangerous in most circumstances, but since nobody but the homeless was present, I thought, “what is there to lose!”)

What I found is that the men who spoke were actually quite well-spoken.

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