Temporary Death Certificate

Yesterday I attended a funeral for the 23 year old son of friends. The young man, who poignantly had been with his parents at our wedding as baby, had spend the last 4 months battling against a rare neurological disorder.

At the graveside, his uncle read a passage from John 5 centred around verse 25 that brought very clearly into focus the Christan hope in the face of death. in his brief remarks, he told us that because of the medics’ inability to diagnose the cause of death accurately they had issued a temporary death certificate. He pointed out that this is the only kind of death certificate that can ever be issued for a Christian. How true, indeed, for “the sky, not the grave, is our goal”.

The words uttered glibly over the coffins of so many are most assuredly true, and comfortingly so, for genuine believers in Christ — we lay them to rest in an earthly grace “in sure and certain hope of resurrection”.

The challenge for us, who in the providence of God must continue our earthly pilgrimage a little longer, is to exercise the same obedient hearing of the voice of Christ that those who are asleep in him will exercise when her returns at the last day.

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