Funerals

Should We Trade in Funerals for “Celebrations of Life”?

"I’ve nothing against celebrating the life of a servant of the Lord Jesus. We ought to honor faithful followers of Jesus for finishing their race. We ought to challenge those in attendance to “let [their] manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” And yet I wonder: does this desire to celebrate life grow out of a stronger desire to avoid death?" - Jason Allen

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In Defense of the Funeral Over the Celebration of Life … Why It Matters

"Scripture doesn’t prescribe whether we should call a service a funeral or a celebration of life or anything else, nor does it prescribe exactly what we should do during the service....But I believe we’ve lost something, and that we would serve ourselves and others well if we recover the time-honored practice of holding funeral services." - Christian Leaders

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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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