November 1st is All Saints’ Day. All Saints’ Day is one of my favorite Christian holidays, right up there with Christmas, Easter, Palm Sunday and Reformation Day. It’s a day to come together as Christian brothers and sisters and rejoice that this life is not the end. We have a hope that goes far beyond this life. And the dead in Christ are not really dead – they are with Christ, dressed in snow-white robes with palm branches of victory in their hands, circled around the throne of the Lamb of God with myriads upon myriads of others.
It is also yet another reminder that one day we too will take our place with them. We here in the Church militant continue to struggle against sin and death in our lives, clinging to the greatest weapon of them all: Jesus Christ and His Word.
One day, unless Christ comes first, these bodies will fail and our bodies too will be placed in the ground to await the resurrection. Our world teaches us that funerals are the end, and that there is nothing beyond. The world teaches that once you are dead, that’s it. But that is not us. We have hope. We have victory. We know how it ends. We have Jesus. We fight as men and women who know the outcome. We serve and struggle and die knowing that the victory has already been won.
That’s what the Christian Funeral is all about. It is a time to confess before God and our community what we believe in, what we hope for, Who we trust.
This month you will find a Funeral Planning Guide along with this newsletter or on our website. Take a look at it. Read it. Study it. Ask questions. And then, fill it out and give it to somebody. We at the church would be happy to keep it for you.
Hebrews 12 says, “…since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” We are surrounded by the witness of the saints in Christ who have gone before us, leaving behind their love, their Faith, but not their life. On the last day the dead in Christ will rise never to die again. On that day, an amazing, breathtaking day of resurrection, the cemeteries won’t be solemn places of death and quiet, but of life and joy. I love walking through cemeteries and wondering what it will look like that day when Christ appears. What better thing can we think about at a funeral?
Pastor Thomas Brown