EACH week an member of the local clergy will be sharing a
thought for the week. This week the Rev. David Knox, Harmony Hill
IN the course of my work I have the special opportunity
to conduct many funerals.
It is a task which demands great sensitivity. I also attend
funerals of relatives and friends where I am simply a part of the
congregation, mourning and showing my respect.
Very recently I attended the funerals of two family members on
the same day. A Presbyterian minister conducted the first, the
second a Church of Ireland Rector.
Both services were beautifully done - simple, dignified,
positive and hopeful.
Both ministers spoke well of those who had died. They were good
people who had spent most of their lives in the service of others.
Christian values had clearly influenced them. They left a
legacy of compassion and values behind them. Yet neither of my
relatives had been strongly committed to the public observance of
Christian faith. They were good people for whom church was not
This of course implies no judgement on the personal and private
These matters are properly loft to God. But it reminded d me
that there are an increasing number of people who are seeking
Christian burial for family members who do not seem to have
definitely sorted out their relationship with Jesus Christ.
It causes families real anguish if they do not know that mum or
dad, brother or sister has made their peace with God.
After all, when people know they are not getting any better,
usually they will sort out their affairs and make their wishes
clear and their will.
Even more important is the need to establish and strengthen
trust in Jesus Christ. The comfort relatives receive knowing that
their loved ones are loved and forgiven by Jesus Christ is
The vague faith that is common to many people is helpful to no
one. What is helpful is for people to rely upon such simple
certainties as 'Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me
so'. Let me recommend that we all take time to sort out what we
Many churches run basic courses - Alpha, Christianity Explored
etc. which are open to all seekers. Through them many have
discussed a faith strong enough to face life and face death.
A good funeral isn't just one that is well conducted. It is one
for which the person who has died is prepared, is well prepared!