Is it time to plan your funeral?
Let's face it, there are some questions that we just shouldn't ask. Never! They are insensitive, or rude or just plain nosy. But here goes. Made arrangements for your funeral yet? Sorted the Order of Service? And what about the music?
According to research carried out in the UK by Co-op Funeralcare you won’t necessarily be able to have the songs you want, as a quarter are turned down by crematoriums as offensive. These include The Trammps' Disco Inferno that includes the words "burn, baby burn" and Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell.
Frank Sinatra's My Way was the most requested song, Abide with Me the most popular hymn and Match of the Day the favourite TV theme tune. At one crematorium the theme from the TV programme Countdown was even played as the curtains closed.
Want "Imagine" played at your funeral?
But if a funeral takes place in church, you are unlikely to hear one of the best-loved songs of all time, Imagine by John Lennon. As this includes the words “Imagine there's no heaven”, we can understand why vicars and Christians would not think it appropriate.
But the rest of the song talks about “A brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people sharing all the world”, so it's not all bad. It also says, “Nothing to kill or die for” and the Bible foresees a time when all wars will be at an end and we will live in peace and harmony in heaven with God.
Is there really a Heaven?
If Jesus was not the Son of God then there would be no heaven, no hell and Christians would be the most deluded people that ever lived. To be pitied rather than pilloried. But we believe that He was who He claimed to be and that eternal life awaits those who believe in Him.
But if we are suffering from a serious illness or going through great problems health-wise, which of us wouldn't feel like king Hezekiah in the bible who felt as if he was spending time in death's waiting room? He went on to describe death as his body being taken down and "packed away like a camper's tent. Like a weaver I've rolled up the carpet of my life as God cuts me free of the loom". Poetic or what? But how many of us can say that we've never felt like that when the going got tough?
Don't you just love the way that The Message paraphrase of The Bible expresses things?
What about God's power available to us?
But the Bible also tells us that whilst we are alive “God's power is at work in us. By this power He can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine”. We may be weak in our own strength but with God on our side, the sky (and beyond) is the limit as we work for Him.
The book of Isaiah also promises that those "who wait upon God get fresh strength. They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind" Now you may not be up for physical exercise but why not claim that promise for your daily spiritual exercise?
It is a good thing to get the practical matter of our funeral organised, but so much more important to sort out where we are going to spend eternity. Jesus described heaven as somewhere that our Father God lived, where there was no more pain, suffering or tears.