Friday, July 8, 2011

What Funerals Teach Me

I have a full and rich life. I get reminders of this almost daily. Sometimes I think more about living at funerals than any other time. In my line of work, funerals and memorial services are a common experience - I have conducted three funerals in the last 10 days and attended two other memorial services. I have now conducted more than 450 funerals in my career as a minister. This is certainly not a record but it has left a genuine impression on me. One Lutheran Pastor that I read about lived and served in Europe during a terrible outbreak of the plague. He conducted an average of 10 funerals per week for a period of more than 3 years. Wow - that I cannot imagine.

I know that it may seem strange to say that I think about life at funerals but let me attempt to explain. Death is an amazing reality check. It speaks to us if we will listen.

It reminds me that each moment on this good planet we call Earth is a wonderful gift and I better get about living or I may miss an opportunity for joy, for rich relationships, and to make a difference in this world. I think I can honestly say that I am not afraid of death. I don't have a death wish - I have so many things I want to accomplish, experiences that I want to share with my sweet Linda and my family, especially my Grandchildren. My faith has helped me put death in its place - death will not have the last word - life wins! That belief enriches my life now.

I know that death causes sorrow - I have gone through the transition of death with both my parents. I miss them much. They both lived full and rich lives and now enjoy life without limitations - this I know.

So how should we live with the reality of human death there in the shadows? Live full - live with passion - live with faith - live the moments - live now and forever more!

Jesus spoke to me long ago and said, "I am the way, the truth and the life.." (John 14:6). As I continue to understand how powerful that is, life becomes more of a treasure with the passing of each day.

Just thinking, (and living!)

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