My grandmother died a few years ago. My cousin and I planned the funeral service. Mum, as she was known, was a praying, God-fearing woman. She loved God, and it was something you knew about her almost immediately after learning her name. Mum was looking forward to finally seeing Jesus face to face, a thing she mentioned with some regularity. You can understand that this was something that my cousin and I wanted reflected in the service. Rather than the usual funeral dirges, we picked upbeat songs, verses of praise and thanksgiving. At one point, the deacon of the church said to us, “This is a funeral, not a party.” Well okay, fine, but does it have to be an afternoon of doom and gloom?
And this is where my questioning kicked into overdrive. I mean, I get it. Someone we cared very much about is gone. And yes, it’s sad and we hurt. Though it wasn’t taught explicitly in the tradition I grew up in, isn’t the hope of our salvation that we will someday get to heaven?
Luke 15:10, NASB “... I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
If there is joy over repentance, am I supposed to believe that there isn’t a celebration when one of us arrives in Heaven? I’m very sorry for the deacon, but I don’t subscribe to that. I remember hearing
“...He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross...” - Hebrews 12:2, GNT.
Well, that joy was us, His bride. To me, that’s exciting. That’s a party. So as sad as I might be when someone dies, and as irreverent as it may seem, if they’re a believer, I’m going to kick off my shoes and dance.