God is far wiser than we are, and there’s plenty of guidance for such potential scenarios (2 Pt. 1.3). Here are some quick things to fill your mind with before you walk into a room filled with the grieving.
First, we all need to be reminded
“A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.” – Ecc. 7.1-4
A funeral is better than feasting… for three reasons.
- Because a funeral serves as a motivator for needed change.
- Because it serves as a reminder that life is finite.
- Because we inevitably think of what will be said at our own funeral.
Your name is assigned at birth but defined in life.
The Trans–Siberian Railway which connects Moscow with the Russian far east is still the world’s longest direct rail route, running for 5,753 miles. The journey passes through the Ural Mountains, Siberia’s birch forest and Lake Baikal, and the entire trip, were you to ride from beginning to end, would take six days.
We’ll all reach the end of the line at some point. Each of our journeys are at various stages of completion, some just beginning, some farther along, but the meaning of life is that it stops. However, it doesn’t end. The vast majority of all the world’s religions teach and believe in an eternal existence of some kind.
Death is a reality that’s juxtaposed.
It’s the end and it’s the beginning. Or as Solomon said, “…the destiny of every man.”
Many would rather not think of their final destination because they feel it’s unknown while others avoid the thought because the subject of death is an unpleasant one. While we should celebrate the accomplishments and one’s life, funerals have always been for the benefit of the living.
The “house of mourning” requires at least four areas of focus in order for it to benefit us.
- A time to grieve loss.
- A time to reminisce.
- A time to comfort one another.
- A time for reflection.
It’s healing, it’s healthy, and it’s enlightening. Every culture on every continent would attest to this, but more importantly— God’s provided us with this truth.
Use the time, while in the house of mourning, for the intended purpose.
Don’t dismiss any sobering thoughts of mortality and use this valuable time properly.
“I will not doubt, tho all my ships at sea come drifting home with broken masts and sails
From seeming evil worketh good to me.
And tho I weep because those sails are battered,
Still will I cry,while my best hopes lie shattered, ‘I trust in thee’
19th Century poet, Ella Wilcox