Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On Dying Well

Some of us live well. Those who live well are often said to “have it all together”. That includes planning their lives down to the smallest details. It may even mean planning for funeral arrangements well in advance of their own deaths. My parents were often amused by the “big surprise” my grandfather gave them. He was so excited he called them both to the phone and announced he had purchased adjoining burial plots for the four of them together. Of course, simply because you may plan your own funeral, doesn’t necessarily mean you have got it all together. It could signify that you are a super control freak.
But even those of us who are skeptical can envy the organizational skills of others who may find it to be a good and positive thing to plan on dying well. If nothing else, one can truly say that it’s the only time we can envision where for once, all of our cares and woes will truly be behind us.
To that end, we can all learn to die well. Something that inspires me about the art of planning a funeral is the choice of hymns. It can say a lot about the person who can vary the assortment which usually includes a dutiful version of “Amazing Grace”. Amazing Grace is beautiful, no question. But there are so many other great and inspiring hymns that can uplift the souls of those left behind. For instance, “When Morning Gilds the Skies” is full of such flowing and evocative images. When Morning Gilds the Skies, My heart awakening cries, May Jesus Christ be praised!
Or even the old chestnut, In the Garden. I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses, And the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses, And…he…walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am His own, and the joy we share, as we tarry there, none other, has ever known…
Then there’s “Joyful, Joyful we adore thee” and “Ode to Joy”.These are the type of uplifting and spiritual hymns that to my way of thinking should be the baseline for all services. Of course, we can also give our loved ones a much-needed laugh as one of my friends did at the end of his funeral service. We left the chapel with the song, “Drop Kick me Jesus, through the Goal Posts of Life” ringing in our ears.
I believe the old adage that "Funerals are for the Living, not the dead”, is correct.  In some respects, we may give our loved ones the final element of comfort in the joy of Christian Living as we celebrate the lives we have led, and the love we have shared. That is the point that Jesus was making. Love conquers all, even death in the end.  

No comments:

Post a Comment