Preaching Your Own Funeral | creed of jesus

Preaching Your Own Funeral, by Mike Glenn

My wife and I began the difficult and humbling process of planning our funeral. Neither my mom nor my dad did any pre-planning. My dad’s philosophy was, “I’ll take care of it when I get there. He never seemed to understand that when you finally get “there” you are dead and unable to understand anything. I made a promise to myself as I was trying to settle all my parents’ business that I wouldn’t do this to my boys.

Jeannie and I were planning our funeral, gathering all the paperwork our sons would need when something happened to us, and putting it all in a notebook for our boys when they needed it. Everything would be in one place — copies of wills, funeral plans, financial accounts with passwords. All our boys would have to do is grab the notebook and they would have everything they need.

It seemed like a good thing to do. Then we started trying to do it. As with everything in America, there are just too many choices to choose from when you die. First, there are questions before you go. Do you have a living will? What are your wishes if you fall into a coma? When are you brain dead? When is it acceptable for your family to disconnect the life support system? Can they retain food and water? I’m not saying these easy questions should be asked, but these are the questions your family will have to answer if something happens to you.

Then, once you’re dead, a whole bunch of other questions need to be answered. Do you want to be buried or cremated? If you are going to be buried, where do you want to be buried? Is there a family plot? Do you need to buy a burial ground? If yes, where? Where did you grow up? Where do you currently live? Where will your children live when you are old?

If you are going to be buried, what kind of casket do you want? Do you want the casket open or closed? Would you like a visit the day before or the day of the funeral? Do you want music on the service? Which song? Who will sing it? Besides, who will preach in your service?

Interesting thought, isn’t it? Who preaches the preacher’s funeral?

And that’s if you want a traditional funeral. What if you want to be cremated? First, there is the biblical question. Is cremation forbidden in the Bible? No it is not. In fact, there is almost nothing said about burying the dead (other than you must do it) in the entire Bible. Do you want your ashes scattered? If yes, where? Best to check to be sure you can scatter your ashes wherever you want. The scattering of the ashes has become a big deal. You cannot hire limos, planes or boats to transport your ashes to your desired location. Because it has become such a big business, regulations have been written about where and when you can scatter your loved one’s ashes.

Once you’ve gone through the obstacle course of all these decisions, you’ll find yourself thinking about your own funeral. I mean really – really – think about it. What would it be like to be at your own funeral? Who will be there? Your partner ? Your children? Your grandchildren? Which friends will be there?

And for those who are there, what will they say?

The ancient preachers have a saying, “You preach your own funeral.” We know what they mean. Our actions, our words, our acts of love, big or small, will become the content of the sermons, eulogies and testimonies delivered at our funerals.

It will give you a new perspective when talking to someone. Would you like this person to come to your funeral? And if you do, what do you want them to say?

Either way, start living this way now. Live so that the people you want to see at your funeral actually come, and when they come, they say what you want them to say.

I have been blessed beyond measure to be the child of my parents. My mother and my father were people of genuine and strong faith. I learned to love the scriptures as I listened to my father prepare to teach his Sunday school class. My mother playing the great hymns of faith on the piano has been the soundtrack of my life. Content was not the issue for their funeral. Changing the time I had for services was my challenge.

This is the problem I want my family to have. I want them to have too many stories of a man who lived big and loved hard. I want them to laugh and cry, but most of all, I want them to worship with gratitude, joy and determination. I want them to be encouraged to live a life that matters. I want them to be grateful to have been a part of their lives.

Whether we realize it or not, we plan our funerals. Every day we make decisions about who will be there and what they will say when they come. More than we think, we will have the funeral we lived for.

Whoever speaks at your funeral will mine your own life to find something to say.

Give them good things to work with.


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