A Christian funeral reaffirms the blessed hope of eternal life
Published 8:31 am Thursday, October 26, 2023
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: My close friend is dying and her Christian family doesn’t want her to have a funeral service because of the expense, and the fact that funerals have become outdated. My friend is reluctant to share her wishes but believes there’s an opportunity to leave a testimony for Christ. Isn’t this a good enough reason? What can I share with my friend’s family to bring them around? – D.F.
Dear D.F.: A person who cares enough to plan their own funeral is a gift to loved ones still living. Others may extol a person’s virtues, but only the individual can express ahead of time their thoughts pertaining to what Christ meant to them in life and their hope of Heaven.
All of the major changes in life – birth, graduation, marriage, and death – have been dignified by ceremonies. A funeral should be a testimony to the Lord that leaves hope in the hearts of the survivors and a witness for the Lord.
A newspaper columnist wrote, “Funerals are for the living, not the dead.” Funeral or memorial services have served as a turning point for many people when they hear the witness that lives on after someone’s death, or the statements made by family members, or a Gospel message from a minister that brings both comfort and conviction. People who may have never heard a Biblical message may be touched by the words of Jesus and drawn by God’s Spirit to consider where they will spend eternity.
For believers in Jesus Christ, a Christian funeral reaffirms the blessed hope of eternal life and the resurrection. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3). A Christian funeral should be a coronation ceremony, a statement to the world about eternal life.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)