Death is UGLY, and calling a funeral or memorial-service a “Celebration of Life” is like chocolate-coating a turd. It may look nice on the outside but it still stinks in the middle. I attended the funeral for the mother of a close friend, and even though the funeral was short, as funerals go, it was still too long. As the pastor and a friend of the deceased recited a litany of her life well-lived, it was poignant-reminder that she is gone. As her lifeless body laid in the casket before us, we were reminded that caskets are made for the dead, not the living. Nobody goes to a funeral home and “test-drives” their casket before they need it. A casket is usually selected after the person dies, when the family is not in any position to protest the outrageous prices of caskets or the ridiculous prices funeral homes charge for their services.
The death of a loved-one may bring out the best in their family and pull them all together to support each other in their time of grief, or it may bring out the worst as family-members jockey for position and start dividing up the “spoils“. I wish I could say that the members of that family were on their “best–behavior“, but they weren’t. It brought out the worst…
Does anyone ever live “long–enough“? Death has been part of the human-experience since the Fall of Adam and Eve. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
Adam and Eve didn’t die physically, but they did die spiritually, and they brought death to all mankind. Everyone who has ever lived has either died already, or will die if Christ doesn’t return before their death. Yes, there were a few people whom God took directly to Heaven without dying, but they can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Lazarus died twice, as did Dorcas (Acts 9:36-43) and the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-15). Miraculous resurrections didn’t keep them from dying again.
The Grim Reaper has our number, but we don’t know when our number will be called. The Bible says “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” (Hebrews 9:27-28)
Shouldn’t we be celebrating lives well-lived while the people are still alive so they can enjoy the party too? Maybe we should turn “Birthday” parties into “Celebration of life” parties. Have you lived a life worth celebrating? I pray you have, but if you are reading this, it isn’t too late to start living your life in a manner that will glorify God and be a life well-lived.