Hope of Heaven: Thoughts on Death and Those Left Behind

A few days ago, my great uncle passed away from a several week fight with lung cancer.  This has raised several discussions that I have been involved in with regard to death and how should those that remain respond to the passing of a loved one.  In thinking over the funerals that I have attended, I think that there seems to be a recurring theme with regards to the message that the pastor gives on such a sad occasion.  The standard funeral message serves to memorialize the person and to call the congregation to a deeper awareness of the brevity of life and the need for salvation.  I think that the gospel is a key to be presented in such a situation because you are never so close to thoughts on death and eternity than at a funeral service.  I think that the key item that tends to fall through the cracks in the midst of a funeral is a call to the believers to live in light of this eternity that the person being memorialized has recently stepped into.  There is this idea of an eternal perspective on life that is clearly outlined in the Bible but is so often missed in the midst of our consumer-driven version of American Christianity.  We tend to miss the fact that the world around us is headed for an eternity without Jesus Christ and that we need to open our eyes to the world around us.  This eternal perspective not only grants us a renewed focus on evangelism, but it leads us to reevaluate out daily priorities.  What is eternal is what matters.  This will be relationships.  The first and foremost relationship that matters is our relationship with Jesus Christ.  The second relationships that will matter are our relationships with those around us.  We need to be reminded of what really matters so that we will live a life prioritising eternal matters.