Ivan Illich: What is your image of death? Our image of death tells us much about the society we live in. How we view death shows how related to each other we are, how independently minded we are and how self-reliant and alive we are. How independent and free-thinking are we?
Richard C. Raines: A child wrote a letter to God. "Dear God, what is death like? No one will tell me. I just want to know what it's like. I don't want to do it."
Robert Fine: To all of us, death is an offer we can't refuse.
Dwight L. Moody: If I can get a person to think seriously about death for five minutes I can save them.
E. Stanley Jones: God is stripping me of everything so He can give me Everything.
Carl Henry: Only one person has ever returned from death to tell us authoritatively what lies beyond and that was Jesus Christ. No one else can tell us what lies beyond except Christ, for he did it!
John 20:11-16: Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she … turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out, "Teacher!"
Don't let tears and death block the vision which your heart is searching for. The risen Christ is standing right beside you all the time. We may weep for ourselves, but we shouldn't weep for those who love God who go to be with their Lord. For the glory of God lies beyond the veil of life's tears.
Never fasten your eyes on the image of the grave or you will lose the image of the heavens. At most funerals few are Christians. Most come to stare at the casket and get little more out of the service. The funeral is a form, something to do in a church. Their eyes are fixed on the grave. They are looking in the wrong direction. Without commitment, and with lots of tears, I fear they will miss the glory of God when their time comes. For do they say "Until we meet again," or is it "Goodbye" as they leave the service?
Look in the right direction. Turn around and see the Friend standing there. Our loved ones who believe in Christ are no longer in the tombs. They are in the arms of God. Face to face they stand in fellowship with the risen Christ, in a heavenly place, in the glory of God.
Prayer: O Lord, may our belief in the resurrected Jesus Christ, fostered by the Holy Spirit through the Word and Sacraments, break the seal on our tombs and enable us to live and to call others to do the same. Today may I serve you, Lord, by loving and sharing what's music for our souls. Alleluia! Amen.