1 Corinthians 13:8-13
Weddings and funerals are part of life. At weddings we celebrate possibilities while funerals are occasions to share grief. Increasingly though, funerals are also considered opportunities to celebrate a life.
Since some of my happiest memories occurred at weddings, it seems surprising that I usually find funeral services to be more satisfying experiences. Well-planned funerals are as much about those who attend them as they are about those who have died. We come to comfort the family, but also to be comforted. We want to understand why lives were cut short by accidents, suicides, or the ravages of disease. We gather and share stories while we remember, appreciate, and often laugh together. We mourn, sometimes in deep confusion, but not as those without hope.
The picture displays and tribute videos prepared by family members fascinate me. They decide which images best capture their loved one’s life and personality. The first pictures are often the individual’s earliest ones, showing a life full of potential in the face of an unknown future. Later photos reveal how this future unspooled. We see family and friends, work life, and meaningful activities. We view the joy of their celebrations and vacations. Perhaps we find those ever-present church directory pictures. By this point, the dreams embodied in the early pictures may have become realities. Their lives have been defined by connections discovered and created. What were once possibilities have now come into focus.
Funerals remind us of what matters eternally. The love we share throughout our lives—through relationships, work, exercising our faith and our gifts—help us experience the Love that never ends.
Think of those you know who are no longer alive. What keeps their memories alive for you?
God, help me to invest my passions in the things that will last beyond my lifetime and benefit the lives of others. Amen.