FIRST-PERSON: Stories around the casket
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- As terrible as experiencing my father's funeral visitation was, it was nevertheless a rich time of remembering.
One thing that I will always cherish was getting to hear people, even strangers to me, come through the line and tell about their personal interactions with Dad, such as how he loved to sing and play his guitar; their shared love for fishing and hunting; and how he was a family man.
The most memorable one was shared by a man about the age of my older sisters who, as a small boy, had looked up to my dad, the local constable. Dad had a reputation for being stern about justice around our small town. Because of that, he was disliked by many. Yet, this man had idolized my dad in his fight against "the bad guys." My sisters and I were pleasantly surprised to learn that there was such an appreciative person.
On that dark day around the casket, the visitors didn't have to tell us how great our dad was; we already knew. But it made for a special time as we shook hands, hugged and cried with those who came to mourn his passing with us.
I feel the same way when I hear other brothers and sisters in Christ, even those who are strangers to me, share wonderful things about how our Father has blessed them in so many different ways. When they speak of His miraculous grace and provision, I joyfully share in their gratefulness.
After all, we are not mourning His death around a casket, we are celebrating life with Him forever.
As we celebrate Jesus' death on the cross and His resurrection for our redemption, let us be bold to tell our stories with others who know Him and with those who do not. We never know who might need to hear a word of encouragement to prove yet again His awesome love.
While my relationship with God is deeply personal, it is also something I share with millions of others who know Him, too, and I am happy to be a part of such a family called to be "filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...." (Ephesians 5:18-20).