Diary of a Grieving Christian – 5 (The Viewing: Another Visit to the Funeral Directors)

Today (Friday) was the day I was not looking forward to. My friend Robert suggested I go see Sue if I can as it would or could give me some closure. I made the appointment to view Sue for 10.00 this morning (Friday). I was dreading this. It’s not for everyone and have made no demands on the kids. But I reasoned, whatever I decided, I would probably regret. But If I didn’t see her the opportunity would be lost and wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. If it was a horrible experience, I reasoned, the memory would fade having many better memories and pictures of Sue. Armed with Sue’s words echoing in my mind ‘they are not there’ I drove to the place where Sue is resting – her body at any rate.

So I pulled into the car park and sat praying for a moment and then decided what I would do. I would go in on my own, pray aloud and then read aloud a part of 1 Corinthians 15. I went in and was ushered into a room in reception while waiting  for Julie, the lady assisting us in the arrangements. Julie appeared and took me through a door and along a corridor with a series of rooms. Quite weird actually. We then stood outside the room where Sue was resting. I was emotional and crying outside the door. We went in, with me still crying to see Sue lying in the coffin. Julie was very good. I told her my intentions, explaining Sue was not there but in heaven. She said it was good to have faith – not quite sure what she meant by that. Julie then left. I was alone with the body of my beloved and wonderful Sue.

With trembling voice I thanked The Lord for saving Sue, for keeping her over the years, for bringing us together, for keeping us together, for our children and our grandchildren. I asked the Lord to be with us as a family, to be present at the burial and the service and that He might save, that the Gospel would be preached and that He would be Glorified.

I then turned to the Scriptures and began reading this passage: 1 Corinthians 15: 35-58. I noticed especially verse 37 where it says ‘what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel’. A bare Kernel! And then noting the following verses:

1Co 15:42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.
1Co 15:43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.
1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

I continued to read, reinforcing the truth that Sue is not here but has gone to be with Christ. Finally, I turned to Job 1:20 – 21.

Job 1:20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshipped.
Job 1:21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

After reading from Job I spoke to Sue, even though it was bonkers, given what I had just read. But it was for me. I then came out of the room and made my way through to reception. Julie appeared again, we spoke briefly and I was on my way. I was consciously different. Was this closure? Absolutely no idea. I felt calm and at peace. Quite different from how I was before. Is this normal? No idea. The Word was powerful as I read it there in that room alone with God. There was no flash of lightning, or smoke, or voice (apart from mine), or trembling (only mine). Just The Word of God. When faced with Death, all we need is the Word of God. All flesh is as grass, but The Word of the Lord endures forever!

In closing this post, note these verses very carefully:

1Co 15:54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
1Co 15:55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Is the Resurrection True – and if not…

If the Resurrection of Christ is not true then we are all sunk – all without Hope.

Christians especially ought to stop attending church and find some other way to spend their time instead of trying to tell others the Gospel because there wouldn’t be any good news to tell. If the Resurrection isn’t true then as the Apostle said ‘we are above all men to be pitied’.

What prompted me to post on this subject was listening to ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ on BBC Radio 4.  Although it was a few weeks ago now: A report from a journalist in India – Kashmir actually – tells of the alleged tomb of Jesus that has now become popular enough to make it onto the tourist map for people to visit. There are a number of different theories that conflict with the Biblical view, but the astonishing thing is that ‘Christians‘ are also visiting the site!

Here’s the thing – if Jesus did not die, He did not rise, at least not in the way the resurrection has been rightly understood for the last 2000 years. If He did not die there was no atonement, no propitiation and the whole thing is a huge confidence trick. I want to know the truth – is the Bible a lie? Have millions of people been deceived down through the centuries  – and in the words of Jack Nicholson ‘you can’t handle the truth’ so we carry on believing it anyway. That would be just plain stupid.

These realities then, depend not on some gooey feeling that makes me tingle or even saying ‘it just must be true’ like a great many atheists say about their own faith. The Christian ‘faith’ must be rooted in facts not fancy. Over the last 2000 years many have tried to falsify, disprove, reject or just plain deny two massive truths. The Bible is indeed the revealed Word of Almighty God and that Jesus died for sinners and did indeed rise from the dead (as He said He would) to show that ‘payment’ for sins had been accepted.

Bottom line – if this isn’t true… The question then becomes – are you, am I, a seeker of truth. There are many sites (and books) dealing with this subject. Here’s a couple of websites – Objections to Jesus’ physical resurrection answered; The Resurrection of Christ: A Historical Fact by Dr. Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921). And a couple of books – The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined by the Rules of Evidence by Simon Greenleaf & Religion on Trial by Craig A. Parton.

To listen to an excellent class on the resurrection go to Resurrection Evidences – or download the audio now here.

Above all, you (we) need to call upon God and read His Word – The Holy Bible.