We witnessed one of the most beautiful scenes last Saturday afternoon. It being a funeral, you may be wondering why I’m using such words to describe that day. I will explain a little bit later.
Funerals always remind me of what life is really all about. Although many answers can be supplied & supported biblically, for me it comes down to finding & embracing the loving Father who has been calling out our names & waiting patiently in a world where darkness reigns. The truth is all that you are, all that you have done & built will be in vain UNLESS you find yourself in the arms of the One sovereign over your life now & life eternal.
Funerals in Taiwan are quite colorful & elaborate & sometimes quite loud. Taiwanese generally prefer to die in their homes rather than at hospitals. Once someone passes away, family members engage in chanting to help guide the soul with the deceased body laid in bed for about 10 hours. The house will be prepared & a tent will be erected at the front of the house. For next 7 days mourning continues as family & friends come to pay their respect to the deceased. For several weeks after the funeral there will be more rituals to follow to ensure that the soul will find its way to “heaven” & not be hindered by evil spirits. The family is expected to continue to hold rituals throughout their lifetime to make afterlife better for their deceased loved ones. There is no assurance of salvation on this path.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7:13-14).
Going back to last Saturday. It was a funeral home with stations and rooms all around. There must have been at least 4 buildings inside this common and it was full. There were funeral “services” going on all over the place. But there was something different about the one we attended. It was eternally different for it was a Christian funeral service. That may not sound so surprising, but here in Taiwan where there are only about 2-3 % Christians it conveys a powerful message. It tells us that against family ties, tradition, religions & societal darkness, our heavenly Father instead of waiting pursued this man & his family so that they may forever be in His arms. God is always the pursuer no matter where we may be. In fact, without Him pursuing us, we would forever be lost.
As familiar hymns in Mandarin filled the worship area, more than sadness was the air of triumph & victory for this man was in His Father’s house. How blessed he is that all he had believed in is now fully realized where faith is no longer needed, only sight!
1 Corinthians 15:54-57 testifies,
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
What a blessed & glorious day it was! For even in death we saw this man victorious!