Death is the doorway to eternity with Him
Published 8:25 am Wednesday, November 16, 2022
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: It seems there’s been a cultural change in how grieving over death is handled; just cremate the body and move on. Is this wise? — G.M.
Dear G.M.: With rapid changes in technology, communication, and lifestyles, the world created its breathless race into the future, and things such as funerals have changed (perhaps due in part to increasing secularism). Over a period of time, people began to exclude children from deathbed scenes or even from viewing the dead. Death became a private affair; eventually even the family was excluded as the hospitalization of the terminally ill became widespread. With this came the rejection of the grieving process and communities felt less involved in the death of its members.
Geoffrey Gorer, an Englishman, began a study of this change in attitudes toward death and mourning as a result of a series of personal experiences. He lost his father on the Lusitania in 1915, so was never able to see his body. It was 1931 before he first viewed a dead body and could experience and observe the conventions of mourning. However, in the late 1940s he experienced the deaths of two close friends, was struck by the rejection of traditional ways of mourning, and wrote about how death had become shameful to many in society.
For believers in Jesus Christ, death is the doorway to eternity with Him and therefore gives hope for what lies ahead after we finish our earthly journey. The death and resurrection of Jesus distinguishes Christianity from all the religions of the world. “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me… has passed from death into life” (John 5:24). It’s been said that death is not a period, but a comma in the story of life. For the Christian, death can be faced with victory, because nothing can separate us from the love of God (see Romans 8:39).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)