"You’ve heard me tell you, ‘I’m going away, and I’m coming back.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I’m on my way to the Father because the Father is the goal and purpose of my life." John 14:28 (TM)
I was watching the documentary "Baseball" by Ken Burns the other day and it told of the death of the great pitcher Christy Mathewson. Brought to his untimely death bed by the heinous gas warefare of WWI, the man known through baseball history as "the Christian Gentleman" said to his wife, "I guess you’ll go out and have a cry now. Don’t make it a long one. This could not be helped."
Reading this verse brought to mind all of the funerals I have attended and officiated – and they are many. Most were filled with intense grief for loved ones. A few, sadly, are filled with emptiness and void of any real human emotion. Few funerals are filled with the joy and understanding I believe Jesus alludes to here. In preparing his disciples for his impending death he trying to get them to see the bigger picture. He was attempting to get them to see beyond the cross to the empty tomb.
I’m not sure we have a healthy nor proper understanding of death in our culture. I’m not sure we have adequately grappled with it and come to terms with it the way Jesus was trying to get us to do.
There should be more joy at funerals.