Sermon Excerpt from Death at a Funeral
This is how I believe our God always responds to death: God does not will death. God does not ordain death. God is not sitting on a throne pushing buttons calling people home. Luke teaches us that when someone dies, God is moved very deeply. It is a visceral reaction. God is flooded with compassion for both the deceased and the living. God does not ignore death or accept death as a natural part of life, but on the contrary, God confronts death, recognizes the harsh reality of it, the sheer evil of it, and God is moved from the very depths of who God is.
Therefore, it is very inaccurate to ever say that in death: “God takes people home.” I have said many times that God is a giver not a taker. It is the very nature of who our loving God is. It is far more accurate to say that when any death occurs, no matter the age, no matter the circumstance, God confronts it. God is moved with compassion. And God doesn’t take, but gives God’s self completely, fully and finally to the one who dies and his or her grieving family.
God does not ignore death, or demean death, or simplify death saying, “This is all part of my purpose driven plan.” Through Jesus, God does not let any death at a funeral simply pass by like it is somehow meant to be. Through Christ, God is moved with compassion and sees death as a force contrary to God’s will and acts to overcome it. God always acts to transform death at a funeral into life at a funeral.