Thursday, March 13, 2008

Funerals, Life and Restoration

This hasn't been a typical week at our house. Thankfully so as we have attended two funerals. Funerals are part of my adult life. I never went to a funeral as a child, and I can't say funerals are high on my list. That probably is typical.

My parents who are both in their 80's have attended four funerals in the past two weeks - one of them for a family member.

The very occasion of a funeral is because death has occurred. No matter when, no matter where, no matter how - death is such a "final" thing.

One of the funerals I attended this week was for a lady who died from painful cancer. In the small funeral home room there was the casket at the front. In between were rows of chairs with people and at the very back we sat with three young children - two of them four-year-old twin boys.

There is something about a casket and a funeral and 4-year-old twins that doesn't quite fit. There they are so full of life and boyishness in the presence of death and mostly oblivious.

I remember another funeral years ago. The casket held the body of the 32-year-old mother of 2-year old twin boys. She also died after a horrible, terrible, painful battle with cancer. That day long ago made me ache for those two little boys.

The presence of the twins yesterday gladdened my heart. They represented the essence of life in the presence of death. Thornton Wilder once wrote, "In the midst of life we are in the midst of death ... " That's what the twins made me think of - life in the midst of death!

But the picture here is a good parable of what is real and true - when we live with hearts restored by the love and grace of God, then even as we grow older or even die we move on to life eternal. That is the hope of life - the promise of eternity - even in the face of death - and we all need to know that truth! The promise of God's restoration makes all the difference in both living and dying! It is the story of Easter, and it's the real deal!

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