A place of writing and reflection…
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
It’s become well known here in the States of the death by suicide of famous actor and comedian Robin Williams. Since his death a majority of people have been respectful to the Williams’ family in that they remember the many things and people he impacted during his life. Others offer their condolences to his grieving family as they have had to come to grips with the situation. Still others question the subject of suicide in various tones.
One group in particular—the Westboro Baptist Church (know for the controversial way it’s expresses views)—has decided to picket the Williams family funeral.
Because William’s played the role of a gay man and a cross dresser in a couple of movies he participated in—two things the Westboro Church despises with a passion.
If you Google the church’s name the top link you will be met with it that of their church under the url ‘godhatesfags.com‘.
Sounds pretty unfriendly.
Upon further examination, however, I found the site’s description even more so disturbing:
“Web site of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS. God hates fags. God hates fag-enablers. Therefore, God hates America and this doomed world”
If that’s not saddening enough, according to Wikipedia the church is even listed as ‘hate group‘ due to their extreme views and the manner in which they announce them.
Now while I believe that God hates sin, and nor does he condone it, I’m not about to walk around carrying one of their infamous signs sporting phrases like “You hate your children“, “God is your enemy“, or their various anti-gay signs.
Nor am I in favor of using God’s holy Scriptures to trash talk other people all in the name of God.
Jesus didn’t and He was very much so anti-gay, anti-adultery, and pretty much altogether anti-sin period. But He wasn’t out waving people’s problems before the world condemning and blatantly bashing what we as Christians call the ‘sinner’.
In Jesus’ day the ones doing the bashing were the religious leaders whose lives weren’t apparently much better than the ones they saw themselves above.
Jesus didn’t condone or ok the sin/bad behavior of either group, but rather offered everyone a chance at forgiveness for the sins they had committed. However that’s not the aspect which I would like to deal with today.
What I would like to talk about is funeral crashing.
Yep. That’s right.
Westboro has made plans to picket yet another funeral (as they are have become very well known for the practice).
Now my question is what good do you bring heckling a funeral? That goes for regardless who died or how they lived their life.
What good do you bring any grieving family by heckling a funeral?
Can I answer that?
It’s called a funeral for a reason.
Someone has died and people have come there to have closure—for whatever reason–in regards to the person’s passing.
It’s a place of tears and grief—not scoffing and mocking. Nor is it a place to picket or push propaganda. It’s a place of mourning. It’s a place that requires comfort for the living no matter the life or circumstances of the dead.
Now if you must crash a funeral, why don’t you do it the way Jesus did? I’m sure that would turn out much better for the grieving than the bashing Westboro has planned.
The Bible records three funerals at which Jesus was present. All of which were drastically changed events.
The first is of a funeral procession in the city of Nain. (Luke 7:11-16) A widow had lost her son and was in deep mourning; one, for the loss of her child, and two, for the loss of any financial future she might have had. The woman was devastated and the people mourned with her.
Then along came Jesus.
Feeling for the woman’s great loss, He interrupted the procession, and touching the basket He forever changed the woman’s grief into joy. Her son awoke to the astonishment of many and the funeral was well…no longer a funeral.
The second funeral was for that of the daughter of a man name Jirus. (Luke 8:42-54) The man came to Jesus asking for healing for his terribly sick child, but when they had arrived what had been a critical care unit had become a funeral home filled with crying and grief. A sense of finality had over taken them all.
But not Jesus.
Instead, He questioned their mourning and taking the parents inside, He awoke their little girl. Her cold body once again received life and her parents rejoiced.
Then there was a third funeral.
It was the of one of Jesus’ friends, Lazarus. (John 11:1-43)
For this funeral Jesus’ heart was also grieved, just as those in attendance. Two women by the name of Mary and Martha (Lazarus’ sisters) were just as upset when they confronted Jesus.
“Why did you not come sooner,” they asked. “If you had been here he would not be in the tomb like he is now.”
The reality of death was in the air here too, but Jesus ordered the grave be opened, and stepping into the door way of it He called his friend to come out. Much to the surprise of those gathered, Lazarus came waltzing out and the atmosphere of this funeral was also changed.
Every funeral Jesus attended the people walked away changed in a way they had never expected. They came expecting to have closure for their burdensome grief, but left comforted by God and a way never seen before.
My challenge to Westboro (or any would-be funeral crasher) is this: While bringing the dead back to life may not be a modern trend, how much better would it be for you to comfort the mourners rather than make a side show out of their grief? How much better would it be for them to see that someone cared about their pain than to have their family name slandered?
Jesus cared about people’s pain regardless of sin. He never okay-ed sin or bad behavior, but He was always there to lend a hand to those who needed Him most at the point in their life when they needed it most.
If you’re going to crash a funeral, it’s best to do it Jesus style.
Copyright The Faithbook 2014
Photo courtesy of sxc.hu.