Last Saturday I attended a funeral.
The minister said we need not be sad, the deceased is happy in heaven now with Jesus, and someday we will all join him in that beautiful land.
On the way home I got to thinking, “Man, the minister really got lucky that day.”
How? Everyone testified that the deceased was an extraordinary man, always “patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud, rude, self-seeking or easily angered…” Also, the assembly was composed of obviously good, honest, hardworking people — people who could afford to feel wistful about the heavenly rewards that await them.
“But what if,” I thought, “what if the minister had landed among a bunch of hell-raisers and had to bury a guy who had just died in a shoot-out from a drug deal gone bad? Would he be comfortable telling them they should rejoice because the bastard finally went to hell and they were all soon going to join him?”
Our minister-friend got one thing right: Jesus lives in another world. But that world is not far away and it’s not in the future. And “his reward is in his hand,” now. He has priceless gifts for every person in both groups.
“The time is short. Let him who is righteous continue to be righteous. Let him who is vile continue to be vile.”
“The time is short.” Jesus might appear any minute. You’ve got just enough time to attend your own funeral. You don’t have enough time to clean up your act. You’ll have to face him just as you are.
“Father, I want those you’ve given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory — the glory I had with you before the foundation of the world.”
Since he’s appearing shortly and he wants us to be with him where he is, it might be good to know where he lives. Here’s a poem about it:
Is It Time To Go?
Long before dawn,
Jesus got up to pray.
His beads were galaxies,
all strung on the unbreakable thread
of our Father’s presence.
Face to face with the source of life,
the word of God himself speechless,
Father and Son merge into one
his companions woke up
full of thoughts of the busy day of ministry ahead;
the morning meeting in the village,
the food, the money bag,
the evening talk in town.
They scurried off to look for the Master
to remind him to prepare,
and found him standing motionless,
surrounded by something like light …
they could not approach —
the atmosphere of holiness
too thick for flesh to penetrate,
so they stood feeling helpless, awkward, out of place,
unable to go, unable to stay,
the wind of Spirit whispering,
their insides dithering;
face to face with the Master like that
they knew they really might be fools for life.
something like light faded;
opened his eyes to them
“Is it time to go?”
— Bhaktan, 2011