Summary: Funerals are a time of remembering and comfort.
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven -
A time to give birth, and a time to die:
A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing;
A time to search, and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace.
It is interesting that several thousand years ago Solomon penned these words that seem so appropriate for us today. “For everything there is a season. A time to be born and a time to die.” In an instant - in one short sentence the author has expressed how fragile life is. “There is a time to be born and a time to die.” It may that the most important question we can answer is: what time it is?
We know that we are creatures of time by the way we set our clocks and watches so that we will know what hour it is. We have schedules and appointments set by dates on a calendar. We know larger amounts of time by measuring the months and years. We also know the seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. But perhaps time should be measured in more than hours, or days or years.
We have already mentioned some dates here today. The date _____ was born. The date he/she died. And so we know that he/she lived _____ short years. We have a measurement of time. And some of us are sitting here thinking that he/she lived a full, long life while others are thinking the his/her life was cut short. But isn’t life more then a measurement of years or accomplishments?
Perhaps our lives should be measured by the relationships that we have with others. That is why you are here today - isn’t it? Because you knew _____. You are family, are friends and you have come to say goodby to someone you knew. That is important and I commend you for being here today.
But let me ask, what time is it for you today? The writer of Ecclesiastes has said, “There is time and season for every event under Heaven. There is a time weep and a time to mourn.” And I would say for you who are family and friends that today is a day of mourning. You have lost a love one - and it hurts. Please do not deny your feelings - grieve long and grieve full. For when you grieve healing takes place.
Today also I would say is a time of remembering. I have often told people that funerals are bitter sweet (because they are). They are bitter because you have lost a loved one - they are sweet because you have so many memories that you can share. I am thankful God has made us with the capacity to remember. Think of the good times, the funny times, the experiences and yes the bad times too and in your remembering you will celebrate the life of _______.
Today is also a day of comfort. It is a day of comfort because Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you. I go to prepare a place for you. And I will return to take you with me. If you believe in me.” Even in the midst of death - if we believe in Him, He will never leave us or forsake us. Isn’t that encouraging news? He who faced death himself - and conquered it - will never leave us. You see that is the “Easter” message. The tomb where they laid him is empty. There is no-one there. And the scripture tells us that if we believe in him we will be raised also. Isn’t that a thought of comfort.
And so I ask again. What time is it? It is a time of grieving - it is also a time or remembering and it can also be a time of comfort if we but trust in Jesus.