Only the Best
Funerals are times that can upset one's spiritual equilibrium, especially if the deceased died unexpectedly, and especially if the family has to put together all of the details in a rushed manner.
But one aspect that I find disturbing is how easily sentiment can trump what a person (supposedly) has been taught for most of that person's life. Twice I have found the following in a funeral bulletin or memorial card:
"God saw that he was getting tired,
and a cure was not to be.
So He put His arm around him
And whispered, "Come with Me."
With tearful eyes, we watched
him gradually fade away,
Although we loved him dearly
We could not bid him stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
Hard-working hands to rest.
Through grace and faith,
God proved to us,
He only takes the best."
Oh boy! The last lines of that poem should raise a red flag for any Christian, let alone Lutheran! God only takes the best?? Wow! That leaves the entire world excluded except one person, doesn't it?
Obviously the author tried to qualify his assertion by throwing in some words "grace" and "faith," but that only makes the whole last sentence a bit of nonsense: The best shouldn't need grace, nor do they need faith. They earned their place by being the best, thank you.
Unfortunately, that kind of "best" won't be good enough. The rest of us need all the faith and grace God will give, and, thankfully, it is a sufficient abundance, thanks to the best Jesus gave, His atoning death.
The troubling part of this is, long after the pastor's words about faith in Christ have been forgotten, this poem will still be around in print to influence the thinking of friends and survivors.