“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’” John 11:25-26
Recently a friend of mine said she had attended a Humanist funeral service. She commented that it was nice enough; fine tributes were given and many memories were shared, but she said that she found it lacking something. Although my friend does not attend church, she put her finger on a very real problem. At the time of death, when everything else has been stripped away, what do we rely on? Do we seek tributes or memories? Iif so they ring hollow in our ears as they are sadly lacking the ability to give comfort and peace at such a time.
No, we need hope, even in the midst of the most hopeless of situations. And this is where Martha found herself. She was standing outside the tomb of her brother Lazarus as she spoke with Jesus. Her pain and sorrow were real; no tribute to or memory of her brother could soothe, let alone erase it.
Into this void steps Jesus Christ, and He speaks. His words deliver what they say – resurrection and life. These words are not mere platitudes or greeting card slogans: no, they are life-giving words. He speaks and even the dead listen. He commands it and the dead rise. Only the One who has conquered death can freely give life to all who trust in His promises. When all else has been taken from us, and death has stripped us of all we held dear, it is only the words and promises of Jesus that matter: “I am the resurrection and the Life”. On the Last Day we will hear His voice and we will rise with Him to eternal life.
Match that, humanist funeral.
Lord of Life, You triumphed over death and the grave and You give eternal life to all who trust in You, Amen.