Union Ridge Church

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

by Reverend Dan on February 8, 2022
Since the beginning of 2020, we’ve had 28 deaths in our church. I’ve also begun work on my doctorate in Trauma, Crisis, and Grief Counseling and the topic of death is never far away there. And personally, my father recently passed away. Death is a very real and present part of my daily life. As a result of that I have witnessed the importance of funerals. There are three reasons why I believe funerals are so important. The first is to grieve. Mourning is a natural human reaction to grief and loss. As Christians, however, we do not grieve for the person who has died for scripture tells us they are in a place where there are no more tears or sorrow or pain. We grieve for our separation from them. We grieve for us. Certainly, for what was, but also for what might have been; their absence from all the important (and unimportant) times and events that lie ahead. That’s why I encourage folks to cry. Feel it, express it. There’s no shame in tears. The second reason we have a funeral is to celebrate. We use that time to honor a life well lived and all the love and joy and happiness they brought to our lives and to the world around us. That’s why I encourage folks to laugh. It’s good to remember and those memories will sustain us through many hard times. They are a gift God gives us that no one can take away. Laughing at a funeral is not sacrilege. Just like tears, laughter is a cleansing of our souls. The final, and for me the most important reason we have a funeral, is to claim our faith. To remember that the blood of Calvary and the empty tomb of Sunday morning are a promise God made to us that this moment is not the end. We will all gather “on the other shore” one day and bask in the glory of our risen Savior, knowing “if we become united with him in the likeness of his death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection.” (Romans 6:5) Paul tells us “Do not grieve as those who have no hope”, for as the old hymn says, “my hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Claim God’s promise. It doesn’t make the hurt go away, but it does give hope in the midst of the grief.