I want to thank all of my family, friends and anyone else who contributed for their part in putting all of this together.
· My father was in the hospital, when I spoke to him from Naples Fla. We talked about two things
· The first thing he asked was if I was still preaching. I told him yes. Good, he replied.
· The second was about him getting a haircut whenever I could come to visit him from out of town. I told him I would bring my clippers and cut his hair. He told me that he cannot get a free haircut. We laughed about that. I will give you a free hair cut when I come, I said.
· I went home and cut my father’s hair on November 3. I knew that would be the last time I cut his hair.
His birthday was on November 4 and he died the day after, I returned home. He was 75 years old. We all need to examine ourselves and see if we have anything against a family member because we may not have another chance to talk to them.
Being the oldest of his children it was expected that I speak at my father’s memorial service. This is the speech I gave. I attended funerals in the past. I can recall always hearing that the person was a good person; they were loving, kind, generous, etc.
I have never heard that they were hard headed, stubborn, prideful, selfish, or that it was all about them. Why is that, I would ask myself? Is it because they don’t want to offend or tell the truth about the other side of the person? I can speak for myself; I have areas in my life that needs to be worked on and so do you.
I must admit I thought about what I should say for days. It was hard for me to think of something and not until Wednesday morning did the Lord give me a message as I got out of the bed I heard a quiet voice, saying; tell them a funeral is for the living.
I had written this message on February 2-27-2006, when I had returned home from my brother's funeral.
God has given me the ability to write thought-provoking messages, from anything that I look at. Everything has a message within it. God is always speaking to us, the problem is we are not listening, or don’t know how to listen. It is my prayer that this message causes you to listen. It goes like this between two people.
When we attend a funeral, who is there?; The person in the coffin and those that are living. The body in the coffin is not communicating to us anymore, therefore who is the funeral really for? It is for the living that is in attendance.
Many people attend a funeral to seek out answers for his or her life It is a place where tears, fears, family, friends, strangers, smiles, sadness, grief, sorrows come together in one place for a few hours.
It is where the living think about their own life and about how they would want to be remembered and what would be said about them. It is sad that some people have instant religion because of a death, only to go back to doing the same old things after the person is buried.
There are some that really change because of a loved ones death. And then there those that really need to examine the reason why they are attending a funeral. What are their motives? Is it to see how the family behaves during the service, or whether the deceased person still looks like themselves in death as they did in life.
While all of this is going on within their minds, the body is lying peacefully in the coffin. It is not thinking about those in attendance. A funeral, then is is for the living. It is a place where we give our final respect.
Funeral services can also be a place for the living to evaluate their own lives; to make change where a change is needed, to forgive, to ask forgiveness, to really come together as a family. This is off the subject of what a funeral is a place for.(We all have a family, it is a blessing, there are not members to hate, refuse to talk to or for whatever you have determine to stay away from.) Read this and rewrite to clarify the meaning.
In conclusion, here is a thought for you to take back with you. You too are dead in the coffin of your mind when you refuse to forgive, refuse to love, refuse not to ask forgiveness and instead hold on to bitterness; blaming God, instead of doing the Godly thing that the Lord requires of us.
Let this moment be a moment where you rise up from your self-imposed coffin and begin to experience your own day by day funeral. Die to what the Lord wants you to die too, not what you decided to die from.
Don’t be remembered as someone who did not listen only to physically die and leave nothing good for anyone to say or to benefit from. After I returned home, I was in the bathroom, spiritually speaking, a place for deliverance, when I heard a voice ask… when you looked into the coffin, who did you see? Did you see yourself? Physically and spiritually you are a part of your love one they live through you.