Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Funeral Stuff

I'll be attending a funeral this afternoon, and it got me to thinking about my own funeral. What I want it to be like, to look like.

Morbid? No, actually, I don't think so.

I don't anticipate having my own funeral for a long, long, time (though of course one never knows), but when the time comes, I want it to be an Easter celebration. I want songs of victory, words of resurrection and life. I want those in attendance to be invited to share in the Lord's Supper. I want some sort of baptismal remembrance.

I want the congregation to sing Jesus Christ Is Risen Today (the one with the Lyra Davidica melody, NOT Llanfair...for some of you, that may sound like babble, but you musicians out there know what I'm talking about...oh, and for the record, I don't care if my funeral's during Lent and the hymn is full of Alleluias...sing it anyway, dammit!!!). And A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. And Thy Strong Word. And Crown Him With Many Crowns. And We Know That Christ Is Raised (the words are here).

With everything I want, it's gonna last for hours. But maybe that's not such a bad thing.

I want a church with a big ol' pipe organ and someone playing it who's not afraid to blow the congregation out of the pews.

I want bulletins with the verse "I am the resurrection and the life."

And I want one hell of a rip-snortin' sermon. One that points to the cross, and the empty Easter tomb, and our baptism into the cross, and the dying to ourselves and new life in Christ. Once, while I was getting ready to be the guest preacher at a certain church that was known for being legalistic, Pastor Larry Meyer gave me some good advice that I'd want the preacher at my funeral to follow as well. He said, "Hit 'em so hard with grace, that they think it's law."

I want scripture that does the same. I want Isaiah 25:6-9 as an Old Testament lesson, I want Romans 6:3-10 as an epistle lesson, I want John 11:21-27 as the Gospel reading. If there's an appropriate time and place, I'd also like Ephesians 2:4-9 and Isaiah 40:3-11.

I don't enjoy death. I grieve when loved ones die, or when I see others grieving their loved ones. But when the cross is the focus of a funeral, there's no more powerful reminder that nothing...nothing...can separate us from the love of God that we have in Christ Jesus.

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly king, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains which he endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured; Alleluia!
Now above the sky he’s king, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as his love; Alleluia!
Praise him, all you heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Alleluia!


1 comment:

Trish said...

Hey, I stumbled on your blog today, so I hope you don't mind the comment already... Anyway, I was thinking about funerals today, too. I don't think it's morbid. I think it's realistic. As a matter of fact, a few weeks ago during chapel, the preacher spoke of making these sorts of plans now, and then later emailed the forms for us to plan our own funerals. I also like your hymns and the message you want conveyed during your funeral. I've always said I want "Lift High The Cross" as one of my funeral songs... Anyway, thanks for posting, and I'll be reading your blog again. See ya.