Last week I wrote about the sad death of Kirk Reid, a member of my congregation who finally lost the battle with liver disease at the young age of 66. On Monday, I had the privilege to lead Kirk’s funeral service. We gathered in the Lord’s house to celebrate the victory over death Kirk received as a free gift from His dear Savior, Jesus.
On Monday, I was thrilled to see the body of Christ acting with the love of the Bridegroom, Jesus. Nearly 350 people gathered for the occasion. Many made the sacrifice of leaving other important obligations behind to be physically present with Kirk’s family at their time of loss. They practiced incarnate love, following the model of the perfect lover, Jesus.
On the way to the cemetery, the funeral director commented how unusual this funeral was. He said he rarely sees such a turn out for funerals anymore. People just don’t take the time or make the effort to come to funerals. How sad.
I certainly sensed the encouragement that Kirk’s family received from the large group that gathered. The sense of hope and confidence in the Lord swelled up as the congregation joined in joyful songs of praise to our Savior. That unified voice of the faithful offered us a taste of what Kirk’s enjoying in heaven right now. What a wonderful act of love as this group practiced the power of presence.
You may not think it’s a big deal to go to a funeral. You may have a huge list of other obligations that seem critically important. This past Monday I was reminded again of how important it is to be physically present with those who are suffering the harsh loss of death. Even if you don’t know what to say, just be there. Make it a point to sacrifice your other priorities to attend. When it comes to Christ-like love, the power of presence is indispensable.
You stated that well Pastor Biermann. With my mothers’ passing in December I will always remember the faces of those who showed up at the viewings and the funeral. I don’t remember all of the conversations but their presence will always be remembered. And your message at the funeral was one of pure love and encouragement. Thank you for loving your congregation, and others, so much. We may not tell you that enough, but you are dearly loved and appreciated.
Thank you Pastor. I personally find great JOY in attending the visitation and funeral service of a fellow Christian where the love of Christ is shared. Kirk was a wonderful friend and we will truly miss his presence here among us, but we know we will one day celebrate our reunion in heaven. Thank you for your wonderful words of life and encouragement. Thanks be to God!