ATTENDING YOUR OWN FUNERAL

ATTENDING YOUR OWN FUNERAL

For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. (Romans 6:4 NLT)

When I was a child, I loved to read about the adventures of Tom Sawyer. One of the stories that stood out to me was the time a funeral was held for Tom, he had been missing and assumed dead. The funny thing about the story was that Tom was not really dead, and he attended his own funeral. That day ended with a combination of being loved and being punished, no one knew quite how to respond when they found out Tom was not dead after all. I was recently thinking about my own funeral, the one that I attended myself, back in the summer of 1973. I had recently given my life to Christ. It had taken place after being witnessed to by some “Jesus freaks” out on the lakefront of Lake Ponchartrain in New Orleans. shortly after that “Jesus freak” encounter, I found myself back at the lakefront, this time I was coming to be buried.
You see, baptism is a burial service, not much different from other funerals you may have attended. People gather together and sing some songs to the Lord, the preacher reads some scripture, prayers and comments about the deceased are made, and then you proceed to the graveside. The only real difference is that the dead person at a baptism is still breathing. I’ll never forget the evening I was baptized. My new Christian friends gathered to pay their last respects and the gathering crowd of mocking party animals assembled hoping to have a good time at my expense. I wasn’t aware of very much, I was caught up in the moment. You see, I was leaving behind my old life, I really had died. My life of foolish, sensual pleasure was over, a new life was about to start. You see, there was another guest, an invisible guest, at my funeral that night. Jesus was there, watching the proceedings. He was rejoicing with the angels at my new life, He was speaking to me about things to come. As I was dunked into the dark waters of Lake Ponchartrain that night, I knew my life would never be the same. I had some sense of the past events of my life passing through my mind, like a video on super fast forward. Everything I used to be was gone, all things had become new. The Christians on the bank rejoiced, the party animals shouted profanities, and Jesus and the angels shouted for joy. As I climbed the steps at the edge of the Lake, I was beginning my new life. I had left one party and joined another, but this new one will never end.
I kind of know how Tom felt that day. People act different when you are walking around after your funeral. Your earthly friends want to keep their distance, but your spiritual friends begin to embrace you. They know what you are going through, after all, they attended their funerals too.

9 Replies to “ATTENDING YOUR OWN FUNERAL”

  1. A few years ago i had just got home from work went out to feed the cows and came to the house my wife had supper readdy, we no sooner prayed for our meal and the phone rang, It was a undertaker from a funeral home trying to sell us his family lay away plan, my wife saw that glem in my eye when i said have to ask my wife we like to plot things together! The undertaker said we could have any funeral we wanted so i asked him to lay me out in the box with a big grin on my face step on a switch with a spring under my body and id come flying out of that coffin so girls would scream and old ladys faint, because I wouldnt even be there and i would get the last laugh!Needless to say the undertaker backed out on the funeral i wanted and never called me again! like Brother Frank said if we are dead we ourselves are gone no longer living for ourselves or seeking things in the flesh dead to ourselves but alive unto Christ hid in him not there anymore to our old life, old things passed away all things new I told that undertaker you best be shoveling alone and hung up the phone i may have asked him if he wore his own suits, i think i did and my wife got mad at me for doing that!

  2. Awesome blog this morning. I also remember the Tom Sawyer funeral and remember cracking up during that part of the story. When I was in school I remember readi that part of the story thinking my mom would have killed me for something like that. How great to think now that when we die in our old lives and how now when we stand at our own funeral our father won’t be there to punish but to laugh, dance, and rejoice with us.

  3. Love this, Pastor Frank!! Thank you and Pastor Parris for you daily devotional–a precious voice of Truth in a world of confusion, noise, & lies. Miss ya’ll! Any way Summer Saturation services could be live on the website?

  4. I really can relate to “Your earthly friends want to keep their distance, but your spiritual friends begin to embrace you”. There was absolutely no denying that something happened to me. My earthly friends politely listened and overtime avoided contact with me at any cost. I no longer fit in my old crowd. Yeah – there are those that still laugh at me because I am a fool or whatever they might say, it is OK! I pray that one day they too will see the light that we again may hang out. Should that day come – they need not worry about “I told ya so” rather prepare for a heartfelt welcome into the family!
    I described the moment of accepting Christ like this. “I sat back in the chair relaxed and with a peace that is indescribable but comparable to that of a child. The sinful man had finally died…..A new man left the rectory leaving behind the corpse which had entered.” Not long after my rebirth I too attended a funeral, my funeral. There more dead bodies in Lake Ponchartrain then one can see!

  5. I use to wish I could say that at 21, when I got saved and left behind my old life, and let Jesus become my Lord, that like Pastor there was a burial and in the past 30 years I walked hand in hand with Jesus. The truth is, I was ” on fire ” for about 10 years, being challenged and changed, an awesome time in my life. The next 10 years were kind of “quiet”. The flaws in my armor began to take hits, from raising teenagers, to dealing with death in the family, to every other trial and tribulation of marriage that I didn’t handle correctly. This was a trying time in my life, not a lot of joy. The next 9 years were the worst, riding the ” fence”, going back and forth, being tossed around by waves of worldly thinking, to being convicted and drawn back to my first love, Jesus. I finally got so “numb and disconnected” that I wanted Jesus to not watch what I was doing. You know He often tried to stop me before I would sin, sometimes in very creative ways, I knew He was there, and that made my life seem even worse. Then one day He lifted up the rock that I was hiding under and exposed all that I had done. Oh Jesus, at first I wanted to die right then, as I began to call out to Jesus to help me, that old line of communication between He and I was fully back in tact. WE had a second burial last year, and I got born again, again. I believe I finally ” got it now ” except for when He shows another area that needs work. Its is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

    1. Welcome home brother!!!!!!!
      Something the Lord spoke to me lately in that small quite voice and then drove it home when I took it lightly, “Line by line; precept upon precept; here a little – there a little!”
      Hbr 12:6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”
      Pro 13:24 He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.

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