Just a Closer Walk with Thee

We begin the story with God walking with Adam in the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden.  We end the story with the New Jerusalem descending to the New Earth and God being with us for eternity.

In between we see pictures of God’s ultimate desire of sharing Creation with His Ultimate Creation – Humanity:

1. God speaking to such as Cain, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Joshua.

2. God’s pillar of cloud by day and fire by night to lead the nation of Israel from Egypt and through the Wilderness.

3. The Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant which “tabernacled” among the nation of Israel.

4. God’s naming of His Son as Immanuel – God With Us.

5. Jesus living among us, being tempted as we are tempted.  Knowing our weakness, yet not succumbing to them.

6. The Holy Spirit dwelling within the believer.

7. In the midst of where two or three are gathered.

8. In the carrying out of ministry to those who are in need of water, clothing or visitation being done “unto Him”.

Righteousness is not God’s desire for humanity.  It is a required means of God’s presence with us.

Living a holy life is not trying to please God.  It is rather our saying to Him, “I want you in my life more than these”.  When we sin we are not only disappointing God, we are saying, “I don’t want you around”.  Sin is the ultimate story of unrequited love, of the willing suitor and the spurning object of His love.  Sin is not ultimately disobedience, but relational distance.

If God is feeling far off, be sure that sin is nearby.  It is only when Christ took upon himself the sins of the world that he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!”

God desires to walk with you.  What do you desire?

Be sure of this if you choose sin, He will leave.  He finally left the mercy seat and his beloved, Israel after all.  This is Hell – the absence of God.  Choose to be holy, for without holiness “no one will see God.”

How to Perform a Funeral pt.8

Matane cemetery

Matane cemetery (Photo credit: Bête à Bon-Dieu)

1. Meet With the Family.

2. Distill to One Best Trait/Quality.

3. Include Phsychological Cues.

4. Lead People to Christ/Hope.

5. Select a Text That Ties Best Trait to Christ and Eternal Life.

6. Teach About the New Heaven and New Earth.

7. Know the Basics.

8. Committal – Body and Breath.  Christ on the Cross.

When it comes to the final part of the Funeral service, the Committal can occur at the same place and time as the funeral, just at the end of the service, or it can occur at the graveside.  The basics remain the same, though the nuances will obviously change based upon location.

Keept it brief.  Texts should include the Fall, the Crucifixion and/or Paul’s discussion of Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.  Psalm 23 should be used here if not in the Funeral service itself.  Spend no more than 5 minutes discussing the text that was chosen, and close with the Lord’s Prayer and/or Amazing Grace.  It is a nice touch to have each of the family members select a flower from the casket arrangement as they prepare to leave.  Through all of this part of the service, weave in the main concepts of the Committal.

The theology of the Committal comes down to the foundations of our faith: Creation, Fall, Salvation, Resurrection.  You will have already expounded upon these issues as you have felt appropriate in the Funeral service itself, however, it is helpful to view this part as a physical application of these truths.

A) Creation – God formed man from the dust of the earth, and breathed his breath of life into Adam’s nostrils.  Body + Breath = Life.  The corporeal and the incorporeal, the physical and the spiritual.  The rest of the universe was created by the spoken word of God, but for humanity, he paused, shaped and breathed.  These two parts were made whole.

B) Fall – Sin enters the picture and defiles the image of God.  Death comes as God’s means of separating our spirits from our bodies, that we might be re-embodied at the last day.  This unnatural division of humanity is at once the great tragedy of life as we know it, and also the answer to our great tragedy.

C) Salvation – Christ on the Cross.  Jesus took on human flesh, and died on our behalf, saying, “into your hands, I commit my spirit.”  “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” covers the half of us that will remain in the ground – committed to the earth from whence it came.  Our spirits however are separated and are likewise committed into the Father’s hands, awaiting his good pleasure.

D) Resurrection – Death is an ending of the imperfect, and a waiting for the perfection that is to come.  Death is a victory for the believer who has finished the race, fought the fight and remained faithful to their Lord and Savior.  We mourn the passing of our loved ones, but not without hope.

Paul Harvey was famous for his two-part reporting, with the second half beginning with, “And now for the rest of the story.”  The Committal is all about awaiting the rest of The Story.