Recently, I attended the funeral of somebody I didn’t know too well. The anticipation of the day filled me with dread and anxiousness. I’ve been to so many funerals in the past and the process is usually the same. Very sad people cry in the same room and everyone feels alone. This funeral wasn’t anything like that though. You might think what I’m about to say is that this funeral was unique because the attendees had hope. A Christian blog post about death = hope in seeing loved ones again.
This funeral was filled with hope of seeing loved ones who pass away again someday. They shared the importance of that message for sure. However, the thing that stood out to me about this particular service was the extreme sense of community present within the church where it took place.
I was able to watch the events of this tragedy unfold from a distance and from the beginning something unique began to take place; true and unconditional fellowship between the members of the community who had lost one of its own. Immediately the church family banded together and took care of the family who had lost their child. This wasn’t just a group of people who took care of the physical needs of their family either. These people took care of each other emotionally as well, and they still are doing that today.
During the service everything felt different because of this support. Though the entire event was somber and everyone deeply felt the loss of this amazing young man, the attendees didn’t seem so desperately alone as I had seen at so many funerals before. Even I, an outsider to the church and the community, was ushered in to meaningfully grieve the life that had been lost as one with the church body.
Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”. I saw this played out so clearly for the first time during the events that lead up to this funeral.
I think that so often we distance ourselves from each other in the church environment. It is difficult to make relationships that run deeper than being a follower on somebody’s social media page. Truly living in community with one another means to hurt, to cry, and to feel with each other. It means to suspend plans and take time off. It means to sacrifice for somebody without expecting anything in return. This is SO hard to do. I will be the first to admit that when I go to church I like to be the first one out the door when the pastor dismisses us in order to avoid potentially awkward social interactions. However, after witnessing the actions of this particular church community I feel convicted. Convicted by my selfishness for not contributing to a community that I know I desperately need to be apart of. In a situation as tragic as the one that I got to witness from the sidelines, I know that I would need people like this. I would need the unconditional love and support that only comes from family.
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are a true and mighty family. I implore you to find and plug into a church community and to involve yourself in it as much as you can. We need each other so so much.