But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
Pastor's Note: The Content of This Devotion May Not Be Suitable for Children. Adults, Please Review First before Sharing with the Young Ones.
People die. That is a fact.
It is also a fact that those who are left behind, wishing to show respect for the dearly departed and desiring to do their best to provide a good afterlife for the deceased, have developed many interesting customs.
* In some Asian countries Joss Paper, fake counterfeit money, is burned so the dead person may have cash in the afterlife.
* Ancient Greeks put Charon's Obol, a coin, inside the mouth of the deceased. The money was to pay for a safe passage from the world of the living to the realm of the dead.
Last month China's Ministry of Culture has said it is going to try and change one common funeral practice of the people. In China it is believed a large funeral crowd is a good sign for a person's afterlife. The more people who attend a funeral, the better it will be for the deceased.
Problems in funeral attendance arise when a person has outlived all his family and friends, or when he was a dislikable individual, or when he wasn't very well known. The funerals for such people are very lonely events. To prevent such an embarrassing situation, the inventive Chinese have found a solution. No, they don't hire professional mourners like they did during the days of Jesus. That would be too simple, too boring.
To solve the problem of an unattended funeral, the Chinese are hiring strippers and pole dancers.
That's right. For about $322, a family can purchase the services of some very sexy dancers whose performances are guaranteed to increase the public's attendance at the final farewell festivities of a family member or friend.
For any number of reasons, it is not likely we will see that custom being embraced by the members of the Christian church in North America. The most important of those reasons is this: when a believer falls asleep in the Lord, they are given everything they need for eternal life.
Because of Jesus' successful substitution for us, because He has won forgiveness and salvation for us, there are no fees which need to be paid; no demons to be avoided; no skids which need to be greased to provide a blessed eternity.
Because of Jesus we have been washed, we have been sanctified and justified by the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit. There is simply nothing to be done by those who are going. And for those who are left behind? We can thank the Lord for all He has done to give us a blessed eternity.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks my eternal happiness is not dependent on me, my mourners, or any gifts placed in my casket. May I always show my appreciation for the forgiveness and salvation Jesus has won for me. In His Name I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries