Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child. Have fun!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Living

The Good Doctor was a youth pastor for several years. This means that for several years after, he was asked to perform a lot of marriage ceremonies. And then he was a young adult pastor for several years. This means that for several years after, he was asked to perform a lot of marriage ceremonies. And now he is an associate pastor which means that he is still being asked to perform a lot of marriage ceremonies.

And all of this means that I go to a lot of weddings. And they are not all alike. Many are, and they run together in my mind. The weddings I enjoy the most are the ones that clearly represent the two people coming together; the weddings that are not cookie cutter representations of all the others.

And believe it or not, I feel the same way about funerals. Due to the nature of a funeral, many of them are just like the one before. But they don't have to be. Especially for Christians. For us, these "celebrations of life" should not look like those of people who have no hope. And because of that, they can more adequately reflect the life of the person who has died.

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 1 Thess. 4:13

It's not that we don't grieve; we are human. Even Jesus wept. Yes, we grieve, but we grieve knowing that there is hope. So in that light I have seen funerals that were decorated like parties, where balloons were launched, where we were asked to dress casually or colorfully, or where favorite or collected items were handed out (you can't take it with you!).

These funerals remind us that while our time is finite and unknown, we can and should be using that time to impact the kingdom for Christ.

I recently attended a funeral with an open sharing time, something that is fairly common. What struck me most about this sharing time was that people didn't know what to say and the silences were awkward. This person was a Christian and so, unfortunately, was every person in attendance. There was no one to share how this person had brought Christ's love to them or stories of a life of Christ-likeness modeled for a watching world.  Almost everything that was shared focused on what the person liked, not what the person had done.

I came home with a renewed passion for the people in my world; for reaching out to others, to give sacrificially, and to grow in Christ-likeness. I shared this with my children who had not been at the funeral. I challenged them to really think about what they want people to say at their funeral. And to start to live that kind of life right now. Don't wait. Because we never know what tomorrow holds.

"And like our Savior, who poured out His life and blood so we have reason to rejoice, we were made to lay down our lives and give until it hurts. We are most alive when we are loving and actively giving of ourselves because we were made to do these things. It is when we live like this that the Spirit of God moves and acts in and through us in ways that on our own we are not capable of. This is our purpose for living. This is our hope." (Francis Chan in Forgotten God)

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