It seems the older I get the more funerals I attend – it’s obvious why. My friends’ parents are dying and so are some of my friends. At the age of 76 I guess I should be expecting this to happen.
Christian funerals of elderly people are generally attended by Christians who understand the sequence of sin – redemption – death – resurrection then God’s reward and judgment. Non-Christians never understand this sequence.
In our Western society today the common approach by funeral directors is to celebrate the life of the dead person. In many cases that’s all there is to it. But there is a growing trend that seems to be developing – the assumption of Universalism, or the teaching that all will be saved.
Even in Christian funerals this appears in many cases. I was recently at the funeral of a friend who had died unexpectedly. The clergyman who conducted the service did not refer to the new birth in the life of my friend, nor to the change that had occurred in his life, but there was a clear expectation of his resurrection in the future at some unknown stage.
In the funeral of a dead non-Christian you wouldn’t expect the person in charge to talk about these things but you DO hear the loud and clear presumption that the person will be “in the sky”, “safe for ever”, “in heaven with God” or other words used to comfort the grieving.
Regardless of the way such a person lived he/she is presumed to be “saved” in other words. This is Universalism in all its faulty presumption.
The presumption is sometimes made by whoever conducts the service that , once in heaven, they will be judged according to the quality of their best selves, not their true standing before God.
We need to change this approach – somehow.