Why Funerals Are Still So Important

I attended a beautiful funeral this week for my elementary school music teacher. She was one of the first people, in addition to my family, that instilled the love of music in my heart. That passion for music changed my life.

The funeral service was filled with people who knew her, loved her and treasured her love and wisdom. We were able to remember the good times we shared, deal with the heartache we carry and prepare our hearts and minds for a future without her until we meet in heaven one day.

In a society that now tries to distance itself from death as much as possible, the tradition of a funeral has been pushed aside. The most important thing to remember is that funerals are about the living, not the dead. There is nothing else that can be done for the deceased, but the living need a place to share their thoughts and feelings about the reality of death.

When someone you love dies, please remember these truths about the purpose of the funeral:

* Funerals help us acknowledge the reality of death. Seeing a casket or urn, sending flowers, singing songs and praying for one another bring a feeling of finality to a life.

* Funerals are a gathering place for grieving people. Those sharing the same loss have a central location to share, comfort and love one another.

* Funerals are public memorials to the people who have died. It's an opportunity to share stories, display photos and think about the moments they shared, good and bad.

* Funerals are mile markers in our lives. They give us specific days to shift from life with that person to life without them.

* Funerals draw us closer to God. For believers, funerals are times to thank the Lord for the gift of time with the deceased, rest in Him for comfort in our loss and be confident that we will be together again in heaven.

Our physical presence at a funeral shows our love for the deceased and our support for those left behind. I pray that we will never see funeral services as something to be avoided, but as positive coping mechanisms and God-given ceremonies of hope.

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