Luke 24:46-47 - (Jesus) said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem."
I like flowers in church.
I like them at Baptisms; I like them at weddings. Within reason, I like them in the church on Resurrection Sunday. Maybe I ought to explain that. One year we asked people to buy an Easter lily and let us use it at church, as we celebrated the Savior's resurrection. The people's response was incredible. We ended up with 250 lilies in a packed church with the furnace running. The smell of those lilies was overpowering.
We had another such problem when a young father in our congregation passed away.
A respected churchman and businessman, we received 85 large flower arrangements -- you know the kind of displays which have to be mounted on a stand. The service of thanks to the Savior was beautiful. Once again, the church stunk and to move around at the front of the church I had to use a machete.
You know, I can understand why when the Georgia elementary school teacher Tammy Waddell passed away she requested that nobody send or bring flowers to her funeral. Instead of flowers, she encouraged the mourners to bring backpacks filled with school supplies.
Those backpacks would then be donated to children who have nothing.
Now, please understand, this devotion is not a shot against or criticism of the florist industry. It is not my desire or wish for anybody to go out and declare, "Pastor Klaus says there are to be no flowers in church." I didn't say that, and I never would say that. On the other hand, I would say all things in moderation (see Philippians 4:5).
Tammy Waddell requested backpacks at her funeral, and she got them.
Hundreds of backpacks came in from all over the world. At the end of the day, those backpacks were distributed among the 100-plus colleagues with whom Waddell had worked over the years. Her fellow teachers took the backpacks to their own schools where the gifts are being distributed.
When I started working on this devotion and Waddell's request, I wanted to find an answer to the question, "What would Jesus have wanted at His funeral instead of blossoms?" As the devotion progressed, I realized I was asking the wrong question. Jesus didn't need anything at His funeral. That's because He knew He would, according to prophesy, rise from the dead.
On the other hand, there is one thing Jesus would like to get in celebration of His rising from the dead.
He would like us to tell others who don't know that forgiveness and salvation and eternal life are the Lord's gifts to all who are brought to faith in the risen Redeemer.
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I give thanks that when we speak of Your death we also can speak of Your resurrection, which is the guarantee we have of forgiveness and an eternity with You. In Your Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one carried on Rare on June 26, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: https://rare.us/rare-news/across-the-u-s-a/teacher-requests-backpacks-full-of-school-supplies-in-lieu-of-flowers-at-funeral/
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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