Category Archives: Death

Whistling and Cheering at a Memorial Service?

I have attended many memorial services. Some have been healing, some have left me with nostalgic tears flowing because of wonderful memories, and most have been a celebration the life of the deceased; but I have never been to a service where those in attendance cheer, whistle and shout during the eulogy. What was experienced during the Tuscon Memorial Service was extremely irreverent.

I kept wondering what the families were thinking as their loved one’s honor was being over shadowed by the cheers for President Obama. I don’t believe he thought it was appropriate to outshine those he came to honor. I almost think he should have told the crowd to be respectful, like a father would to a disruptive child in the same situation. I wonder greatly what this says about society and this generation?

The words shared by the President were poignant as he reflected on the lives of those who had died; and I am sure it was an honor to have the President part of this momentous event for the victim’s families; but I just can’t help being saddened by the raucous crowd who attended for reasons that elude me. Was there a true desire to uplift these families in their time of distress, or was it a once in a lifetime chance to be at an event where the President was? The behavior was juvenile at best. Decorum and respect for the dead was lacking in the whistling and cheering crowds. I kept wondering who raised these individuals and where were their manners.

Yet, in spite of the rudeness factor, beautiful thoughts were shared and honor was bestowed on the six victims. I pray that each family and friend can begin their journey to healing tonight.

Life and Death Walk Hand in Hand

Life. It comes in all shapes and sizes, colors and characters, and makes up the world in which we live. And when it is gone, we recognize our waste, ache because of our apathy and yearn to return and do it again, better somehow.

Life ended all over the world today, yet more specifically in my world, seven people this week breathed their last, a grim wake up call that life and death walk hand in hand.

Two men who loved and served their God and families left this earth. An uncle, whose funeral had more words about partying, than about God, left the world and his family behind. Two young men, ready to play football in college had their dreams destroyed in a car crash. Evan, just adopted from an orphanage in Georgia, died in an Israeli hospital of health complications, with his new American mommy and daddy trusting in the Sovereignty of God and clinging to His love. And perhaps the death that staggered my world the most was that of Norma Lopez, a seventeen year old girl, who was abducted and murdered only miles from my home, my church and my world.

Life and death walk hand in hand, but when life is taken in a vicious, evil manner, the breaking of my heart is almost audible. All I can think is how broken the heart of God must be as He gazes on this world, past, present and future, and sees the wickedness of mankind. Yet God stays His hand, as Lamentations states, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.”

Praise the Lord that He stays His hand and does not consume us, for though most are not murderous and evil according in the world’s standards, all of us are wicked in God’s eyes in light of His perfect holiness. None have lived perfect lives and therefore we are damned without Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross.

Jesus, God’s perfect Son was nailed by evil to the cross because He loved the world and desired all to be rescued from the evil fallen state in which we live. He aches because of the evil and He promises that justice will prevail and yet He waits for all to have a chance to hear and believe that He has come to save each person from sin and death and offer an eternal home in heaven with Him.

Death is no respecter of persons, it takes at any age and when it so pleases. It either leads to eternal life in heaven with God or eternal damnation in hell.  The choice lies solely on the individual and what he or she does when confronted with the truth of Jesus.

The hope and beauty of eternity is found only in Jesus Christ and it is only in His own dance with death and his resurrection that gives every human the opportunity to turn from this evil infested world and turn to the kingdom of God which we were created for; a kingdom with no end.

Death is either a doorway into glorious life forever in perfection, or it is the passage that leads to the hellish punishment man deserves for rejecting Christ. God is good and just, He loves profoundly and this love caused Him to bleed and die. Yet He won’t let those who disregard His perfect standard and His free gift to soil His perfect kingdom. He holds the key and is still holding the door open to any who desire to come to Him, but one day it will be too late. One day, the door will be shut and there will be no chance to return and try again. It is appointed once for man to die; be it by heart attack, murder, car crash, health issues or old age…we all die, and then the judgement. We are judged for our acceptance of Jesus Christ or our rejection.

Life for the Christian begins at death, for eternity is where reality truly is found. Eternal death begins when pride and sin keep one from accepting the reality that only through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection can a man be saved.

You and I are going to die. What is waiting for you on the other side? Do you know the Giver of Life who holds the keys to eternity? Or are you banking that on the fairy tale that all roads lead to heaven?

Love = Vulnerability

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” — C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)

Tears have fallen today, though we knew this day would come. Our “Arnold Bean”, the once chubby beagle had to be put to sleep at the ripe old age of thirteen. The pain that loving brings is climaxed upon the death bed and perhaps purest in the tears of a child. Yet would we choose to not love, even an animal, in order to avoid such pending hurt, as death comes with life? Would we avoid affectionate attachment, so as to not feel inevitable anguish?

My daughter’s good bye offering to her beloved pet was a video montage which she made from the last pictures of today. Heart felt and tear invoking, her thirteen year old heart morned in an innocent and truthful way. My son, who chose to go with us to put the “old man” to sleep, made some deeply profound statements, as he rubbed his “best friend’s” head. Even in his eleven year old mind, he understood that both Lucifer’s fall and man’s fall were affecting his lovable beagle Arnold, and that because of sin, even the animals must pay the price and die. The sweet little boy that he is, said, “I am going to weep and weep for my best friend.”

Life means death and there is no escaping the pain that it brings.  As C. S. Lewis stated, “Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.” In order to live the highest joys, one must experience the lowest lows. Loving an animal, especially for a child, is the first steps of experiencing life and death, joy and pain.  These may be the baby steps that help prepare for the loss of a grandparent or friend and should not be discounted and avoided, but embraced as part of growing pains that go along with life in a fallen world.